Update: March 25th, 2020
We understand that our patients are becoming increasingly concerned about COVID-19 and its potential to affect their treatment plans and their general health.
The health and safety of our patients and staff is our absolute priority. We have a detailed management plan in place, which follows best practice guidance from Public Health England, in terms of personal hygiene and cleaning, self-isolation, and protective equipment. If staff are exposed or have symptoms they are immediately self-isolating.
As with other flu-like respiratory illnesses, infection with COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms including a cough and fever. It can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
In an open letter to fertility patients published by Sally Cheshire CBE, HFEA Chair, it quotes the British Fertility Society and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists saying:
“…clinics should plan to stop treatments over the next three weeks, allowing patients to complete any cycle they have started.”
The advice on pregnancy is changing rapidly. Your best source of advice is The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Eggs, Sperm and Embryos
Currently there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through genital fluids nor be passed from mother to foetus. As such, we would not treat eggs, sperm or embryos from a person with COVID-19 any differently.
There is no concern with regards to transmission in liquid nitrogen at this stage. To date, there has been no known infectious transmission of any virus within the gametes/embryos setting so the risk is considered negligible and no change in practice is being adopted.
If you become unwell or have to self-isolate during treatment, your cycle will be cancelled and deferred until the following month.
We have contingency plans to operate with reduced staff levels and will immediately send staff home if they have symptoms or exposure to minimise the risk of spread. However, we shall not be starting any new cycles of treatment until we’ve been given instruction by the HFEA that it is safe to do so.
“In line with guidance from the British Fertility Society and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists, we’ve issued new General Directions which now require all clinics to have a COVID-19 treatment strategy, which must include ceasing treatment services by 15 April 2020 the latest.”
This means if any treatment cycles started now, TSDFC would be forbidden to complete that cycle before the deadline. Please call our team on 01323 410333 if you have any queries.
Measures to Reduce Risk of Infection
We are recording all instances of foreign travel, and isolating staff where necessary. Staff are being encouraged to report any exposure risk and self-isolate.
We have increased the number of hand cleaning sprays throughout the clinic, and have posted information on correct hand washing technique above all sinks.
Our cleaning team have increased the frequency of disinfection of all areas, with particular focus on commonly touched areas such as door handles and handrails. Our clinical teams have a deep clean protocol for areas such as theatre, scan rooms, and the ward, which is being implemented regularly.
The government is now advising against all international travel.