Fertility patients rightly wonder how IVF centers would reopen once the spread of COVID-19 slows down. Image by Evgeni Tcherkasski via Unsplash.
[This article deals with a rapidly developing situation. It was written by Norbert Gleicher, MD, on April 16, 2020 and published on April 17, 2020. For a list of all COVID-19 Bulletins, scroll to the bottom.]
How will fertility centers reopen after the acute phase of COVID-19 pandemic is behind us? This is another frequently asked question and, once again, there is no easy answer since circumstances can and will vary between centers. Hospital-based fertility centers, likely, will have to wait for their turn within a much larger “reopening” effort at their respective institutions and systems. At free-standing IVF centers, the process may be much simpler and, may just entail calling staff back to work, reopening and letting patients know.
Either way, there will be changes, however, as some staff may decide not to return and some patients may decide not to return. Some fertility centers may even decide not to reopen.
For patients who are considering resuming fertility treatments after COVID as soon as possible, we suggest you contact your fertility center sooner than later because for a relatively brief initial period, we anticipate heavy demand from patients waiting to resume their fertility treatment process. (We also recommend you stay on fertility supplements and medications, unless your physician advises you otherwise!) The earlier you let your center know of your intentions, the better they will be able to accommodate your preferred timing. It is also important to note that most fertility centers will probably reopen with smaller staffing. That, in itself, may also delay things.
Preplanning and expressing your intent to your fertility centers is even more important if you are scheduled for a semi-elective surgery that has been postponed. The rescheduling lines here will, likely, be much longer than those for IVF because you are competing for operating room time with other surgical specialties.
Good luck, and let CHR know if we can be of help!
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Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.
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