Update: May 15th, 2020

As you may be aware, an announcement by the HFEA on May 1 stated that the Fertility sector could resume services from 11th May providing that before resuming licensed treatment clinics must have a written COVID-19 Treatment Commencement Strategy.

We are pleased to announce that as of today, May 15, we have been granted permission to conduct services by the HFEA which is fantastic news!

We are so excited to start seeing those of you who’ve been waiting so patiently and will be in touch to book you in very shortly.

Due to the circumstances of each individual, we will arrange the commencement of treatment in priority order and according to our waiting list.

We have updated our website with guidelines that patients will be asked to follow when they are visiting the centre. In the meantime, we would ask that you all follow the self-isolating and social distancing guidelines issued.

If you require any other information please call us on 01323 410333.

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Update: May 6th, 2020

As many of you may have seen on the news that Fertility Centres can apply to reopen and resume fertility services from 11th May 2020. We are in the process of going through our application with the HFEA. If you have already been waiting to start your treatment with us then please be reassured that we have your details stored and we will be contacting you soon.
If you are a new patient then please call us on 01323 410333 and one of our team can give you further information.

We will be updating our website with guidelines that patients will be asked to follow when they are visiting the centre. In the meantime, we would ask that you all follow the self-isolating and social distancing guidelines issued.

If you require any other information please call us on 01323 410333.

Want to get notified of the latest developments via email? Sign up here.

Update: May 5th, 2020

On May 1st, the HFEA made a very positive and welcome announcement that patients waiting for treatment will be excited to read…

The Authority decided that subject to the HFEA working with clinics, through an assessment process, on how a safe service can be delivered for patients and clinic staff, fertility clinics will be able to apply to reopen sometime in the week commencing 11 May 2020 once revised General Directions have been issued.

This is great news for patients nationwide, and sure enough, we are keeping up our standards of health and safety to the highest degree in order to apply for reopening and start welcoming patients to our brand new state-of-the-art fertility centre.

Stay tuned to our social media channels and this post for the latest news as it develops.

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Update: April 27th, 2020

The following snippet comes from the HFEA post dated 24th April 2020:

We are actively considering how best we can vary or revoke GD0014 to enable treatment to resume. The Authority met on Tuesday this week to consider the criteria against which any decision to resume fertility treatment should be made.

The Authority agreed that at this point in time, four criteria are particularly critical in any such decision:

  • that Government restrictions on social contact and travel are lifted or eased
  • that restarting fertility treatment would not have a negative impact on the NHS
  • that there was no evidence that Covid-19 impacted on the health of pregnant women or their babies
  • that fertility clinics are able to provide a safe service.

We now need to resolve the indicators or milestones that we shall use to assess progress against each criterion. We will be speaking to the UK Government and the devolved Governments, the NHS leadership, the professional societies (BFS/ARCS, RCOG), and licensed fertility clinics.

At present, our regulators (BSA / HFEA) have requested that no new fertility treatments are started to avoid any additional pressure on the NHS. We shall start treatments once again when it is safe to do so.

For more information at this time of writing, visit www.hfea.gov.uk.

Update: April 3rd, 2020

Despite the current pandemic situation and social circumstances we find ourselves in, Sussex Downs Fertility Centre’s skeletal staff team continue to offer limited services from the new facility at Park View, Alder Close and are just as dedicated as ever to providing excellent patient care. We appreciate your patience during these next few months.

At present, our regulators (BSA / HFEA) have requested that no new fertility treatments are started to avoid any additional pressure on the NHS. We shall start treatments once again when it is safe to do so.

Sources: British Fertility Society / Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority

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.”

Pregnancy

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.

Treatment

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

Our staff

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.

Hand cleaning

We have increased the number of hand cleaning sprays throughout the clinic, and have posted information on correct hand washing technique above all sinks.

Cleaning

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.

Travel

The government is now advising against all international travel.