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FAQ ABOUT FERTILITY TREATMENT AND PREGNANCY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC



First and foremost, while the world grapples with an issue of enormous scale, our hearts go out to those who have been affected. The rapidly evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) can be unnerving, and new information is coming to light daily, even hourly. Please be assured that VRC is closely monitoring real-time developments and continually looking to experts such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance. The safety of our patients and staff is our foremost concern. We have taken numerous actions to address this.

SYMPTOMS


Q: Should I come in for my appointment even if I have cold or flu symptoms?

A: If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, please notify our front desk staff BEFORE coming in to an VRC office. Special accommodations will be made for you.

Do you feel like you have a cold or the flu today?

Do you have a fever (temperature over 100.5) or feel like you may have a fever? Have you recently been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? In the last 28 days, have you recently traveled to any high risk location for COVID-19? These include: China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Most of Europe.

Q: What are the emergency warning signs for COVID-19 that require medical attention immediately?


A:Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Persistent pain or pressure in the chest New confusion or inability to arouse Bluish lips or face *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Q: What symptoms indicate that I should see a healthcare provider?


A: Current symptoms that have been reported include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you feel sick with any of these symptoms and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your healthcare provider will work with the state health department and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested.

Q: Do I need to be tested? Does VRC offer testing?


A: VRC does not test patients for coronavirus.
Please contact your primary healthcare provider if you feel sick and have mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing – especially if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or if you have symptoms and have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your primary healthcare provider will work with the state health department and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested.

PREVENTION


Q: How can I protect myself/my family from coronavirus?


A: Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus. The flu vaccine is not effective in preventing coronavirus.
The CDC recommends the following everyday preventative actions to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover your cough. Cough into a tissue and then throw it away after use. If no tissues are available, cough into your elbow, not your hand. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Visit the CDC website for more information about COVID-19 and prevention.

Q: Do I/we need to wear masks? Are masks effective? Can I get masks for myself/my partner?



A: The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask. Facemasks should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms to protect others from the risk of infection. Facemasks should be worn by those caring for persons infected with COVID-19.

PATIENT CARE AT VRC



Q: Is VRC prepared to manage care for patients with the recent risk of coronavirus/COVID-19?


A: VRC staff members and doctors have the knowledge and training needed to safely care for patients while taking necessary precautions against the spread and transmission of COVID-19.

At this time, VRC has taken measures to limit transmission by promoting hand hygiene and disinfecting protocols, inputting screening measures, modifying appointments and schedules, performing consults electronically when indicated, and making adjustments to treatment cycles if deemed necessary.

Please remember to use hand sanitizer before you enter the waiting room. If you prefer not to enter the waiting room, please inform our front desk staff that you will wait in your car. Our Patient Services Team will contact you via phone and/or Patient Portal message when we are ready for you.

Q: Should I avoid coming to VRC until new coronavirus/COVID-19 infections stop occurring in the Canada?


A: At this time appointment scheduling is subject to local conditions. We will contact you if there is a need for you to cancel appointments, consultations, or surgery due to concerns about COVID-19.

Q: Do you current have any patients with coronavirus/COVID-19 at VRC?


A: VRC currently does not have any known patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus/COVID-19.

Due to patient privacy laws and VRC policies, VRC cannot share any details regarding patient care or treatment. We will contact you if there is aneed to cancel appointments, consultations, or surgeries due to concerns about COVID-19. Please contact your clinical team directly if you have questions.

Special precautions are in place for patients who display symptoms of illness while under our care. VRC follows the CDC guidelines for the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff members.

Q: What should I do if I’m signed up for an injecting training class?


A: We are canceling our group injection classes until further notice, but that we will provide one on one or video teaching options.

CONTINUING FERTILITY TREATMENT DURING A PANDEMIC



Q: How will COVID-19 affect fertility treatment outcomes?


A: According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease. This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers.

Given the information we do have, while it would be wise for individuals with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection to avoid pregnancy, there appears to be no cause for alarm for those already pregnant.

We have no reason to believe COVID-19 will adversely affect the outcome of your fertility treatment.

Q: Should I strive to avoid a pregnancy during this pandemic?


A: According to the ASRM, out of an abundance of caution, if you have high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, should strive to avoid a pregnancy.

If you are undergoing active infertility treatment, we suggest that you discuss with your VRC physician the option to freeze all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer until you are disease-free.

Please note this recommendation does not necessarily apply when there solely is a suspicion of COVID-19, because symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other more common forms of respiratory illnesses.

Q: What if I’m mid-cycle and it gets cancelled, how will I afford?


A: VRC is committed to always doing what’s in the best interest of our patients – medically, financially, and emotionally. While we cannot predict what the future will hold, please be reassured that patient safety and well-being are our top priorities. Should we need to cancel a cycle due to COVID-19, VRC would not charge for that cycle. Further, we will do everything possible to work with our pharmacies to make accommodations as well. We’re here to help you build your family, and will support you 100%. Thank you for trusting VRC.

PREGNANCY AND COVID-19



Q: What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be sicker than other people?


A: According to the CDC, we do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance than the general public of getting sick from COVID-19 nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

Q: How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?


A: Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique) Avoid people who are sick Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 disease at CDC’s (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).

Q: Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?


A: According to the CDC, we do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

Q: If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?


A: According to the CDC, we do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.

Q: Where do I turn for more information?


A: Further questions related to your care at VRC, we encourage patients reach out to their care team. For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html your local health department.