In vitro fertilization (IVF) Practices During COVID-19

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Are you planning to seek IVF treatment but not sure if it is safe during this pandemic? Are you worried if the coronavirus pandemic can harm your baby?

If yes, don’t worry, you are not alone. In India, almost 1 in every 6 couples is looking for an infertility solution.

Fertility problems and IVF are already stressful. Now, throw a pandemic like COVID-19 in this scenario, and your mind may go into an all-out tailspin.

So, it is understandable for you to wonder if this is the best time for embryo retrieval or transfer.

In such a perplexing time, we thought it might be essential to spread awareness regarding aspects of fertility treatment during this pandemic.

Here is what all couples undergoing IVF, during Covid times, should know:

Should You Delay IVF treatment?

Before moving ahead, we would like to address the most common question asked by patients, that is whether they should delay the treatment.

Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, Consultant Gynecologist & IVF Specialist at Lilavati Hospital Mumbai, says, “Majority of patients in the reproductive age are generally not in the high-risk group. So, it is not necessary to delay the treatment cycle or IVF consultation at this time.”

“We offer tele-medicine appointments for the initial or follow-up consultations to curate a treatment plan for you. Further, to avoid transmission risk, we follow all guidelines suggested by the authorities. Our laboratory also has a HEPA filtration system, a positive pressure air handling system, and maintains quality assurance and rigorous cleaning at all times. This lowers the risk of COVID transmission to embryos, eggs, or sperm.” he said.

Does Corona Virus Impact Your Fertility?

“Currently, there is limited evidence regarding the association between fertility and coronavirus. But, we do know that infections may cause high fever, which could affect fertility treatment.”, says Dr. Hrishikesh Pai

A study has suggested that high fever during the IVF cycle or egg freezing may require a higher need for medications, a lower number of retrieved eggs, and a longer cycle.

However, there’s no evidence suggesting that COVID-19 fever has an impact on fertility.

Will Corona Virus Affect Pregnancy?

“It is seen that the risk of COVID infection in the pregnant female is the same as compared to a non-pregnant female. Besides, there is no sufficient evidence that suggests that pregnant women can pass COVID infection to their babies. Also, coronavirus is not present in breast milk or amniotic fluid”, mentions Dr. Hrishikesh Pai of Lilavati Hospital Mumbai

Looking at these facts, it is highly unlikely that COVID-19 can affect your pregnancy.

What Precautions You Should Take While Undergoing IVF To Stay Steer Clear of Corona Virus

While there are various precautions to prevent COVID-19 infections, some important ones are:

  • Wear a mask all the time when in public.
  • Frequently wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20/30 seconds.
  • If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
  • Disinfect and clean frequently touched surfaces using cleaning wipes or sprays.
  • Cover your nose and hands with elbow or tissue and not your hands.

We Are Delighted To Announce Certain Changes

We have undergone the following changes in our clinics in Mumabi, Navi Mumbai (Girgaum & Bandra), Navi Mumbai, South Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad & Mohali for patient safety:

  • Video Consultation: We have introduced digital consultation and counseling to minimize patients visits & clinic footfall.
  • Minimizing patient exposure: To reduce exposure, we provide home blood collection. In males with suspected semen problems, semen collection can also be done at home & then transported to the laboratory for analysis. For repeated ultrasounds, we have started referring patients to their nearby ultrasonologist rather than calling them all the way to the IVF clinic.
  • We also offer home delivery of medications along with a prescription.
  • Staff: Our staff is on the daily triage questionnaire for COVID-19, which are questions that determine infection risk. They are also tested with RT PCR test if they are suspected of COVID infection. When you visit the clinic, you will meet our staff at reception with a smile and no handshake! Our team will request you to sanitize your hands and check your temperature.
  • Face Mask and PPE: In line with national guidelines, our staff will be wearing PPE kits during the procedures. Besides, we will request you to wear a face mask while in the clinic as per the Government advice.
  • Sanitizing: We have installed ultraviolet lights (which are used during nonworking hours) and carry out sterilization to sanitize the surfaces and air.
  • COVID Screening: We screen all couples for COVID using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) before starting the treatment and repeat them prior to all treatment stages, such as embryo transfer or ovum pick up. If either spouse is detected positive for Covid, the cycle is canceled. In those patients wherein a cycle is canceled, discounts are given in the next IVF attempt, to compensate for the financial loss of cycle cancellation.

All these precautions have resulted in a very very less transmission rate to patients.

Final Thoughts

We understand the past few months have been anxious, and we are delighted to inform you that we can now safely achieve the most optimal outcomes for you. You can rest assured that you are taking a step in the right direction!

If you have not yet started the IVF journey, you can call us or visit our clinic, and we would be glad to guide you through the entire process.

Listen to our Experts

Dr. Sunita Arora explaining the safety protocols being followed at Fortis Bloom IVF Centres

IVF with safety measures in Covid-19 pandemic – with Dr. Meenu Handa and Dr. Laxmi Goel

Bloom IVF Centres across India:

1. Bloom IVF Centre, Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, Mumbai

2. Bloom IVF Centre, Opera House, Mumbai

3. Fortis Bloom IVF Centre, Fortis LaFemme Hospital, Greater Kailash II, New Delhi

4. Fortis Bloom IVF Centre, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Sector 44, Gurugram

5. Fortis Bloom IVF Centre, Fortis Hospital, Mohali Chandigarh

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