In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, if you’re undergoing fertility treatment you’re probably wondering things like what is the best time for an embryo transfer, or should I freeze eggs/embryos now before waiting for things to get worse?
These questions have been a major reason for concern for couples who were undergoing fertility treatment since before the lockdown, as well as those who were planning to start it in the near future.
Speaking about the same Dr. Nirmal Krishnan, MS DGO, Director Kare Centre in an interview with HealthWire Media answer often-asked questions about Covid-19, IVF, and pregnancy.
- How can I prevent getting coronavirus while undergoing fertility treatment?
The health and safety of all the patients and staff is our absolute priority. During this Covid-19 phase lots of changes to the clinic environment, the way we provide treatment, and also how we interact with you and each other to make sure it’s as safe as possible for you to have your IVF treatment care.
Social Distancing and PPE
To protect you and the staff we will do our best to maintain social distancing wherever we can wash hands frequently with soap and water. During the treatment, we will be implementing a number of social distancing measures as well as the use of PPE where appropriate.
At the start of ovarian stimulation, a covid test is done to avoid cycle cancellations once stimulation is started. Also, Prior to ovum pickup and embryos transfer covid test is done again. If at that stage someone tests Covid positive, then we go ahead with ovum pickup with proper PPE and freeze the embryos. But we avoid reaching that stage.
Before you come for your appointment, we will ask you these screening questions:
- Have you or your partner or a person in your household had any of the following symptoms in the last 2 weeks like fever, persistent cough, loss of the sense of smell, loss of the sense of taste
- Have you been in contact with anyone in the last 2 weeks who has any of these symptoms or has been diagnosed with Covid-19?
Keeping things safe in the laboratory
If you test positive after egg collection, embryos will be frozen, giving time for you to recover before any transfer. The embryos during the time they are cultured in our incubators.
All procedures of IVF are practiced after initial risk assessment with Covid risk mitigation steps in a highly sanitized environment and there is no need to fear about its success if you follow preventive guidelines issued by the government.
- Does coronavirus impact fertility?
Currently, there’s limited scientific evidence about the association between coronavirus and fertility. What we do know is that infections can sometimes cause a fever that may affect fertility treatments.
- How does coronavirus affect pregnancy?
Babies who have been diagnosed with coronavirus shortly after birth not clearly show whether the transmission was before birth or soon after birth. Also, coronavirus doesn’t affect pregnant women more seriously. And while following all preventions we are certainly avoiding the chances of getting flu, which does affect pregnant women more severely.
Pregnant women with co-morbidities like diabetes or thyroid may be at increased risk for severe illness.
If you have symptoms of Covid-19, there’s no need to panic. It is best to call your doctor to determine whether you need testing and/or to come in for evaluation.
Breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene by holding your newborn skin-to-skin, and you should wash your hands before and after touching your baby, wear a mask, and keep all surfaces clean.