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Safe IVF during the Pandemic: Updated COVID-19 Precautions at CHR

Safe IVF during the Pandemic: Updated COVID-19 Precautions at CHR

[This article deals with a rapidly developing situation. It was written by Norbert Gleicher, MD, on June 8, 2020 and published on June 9, 2020. For a list of all COVID-19 Bulletins, scroll to the bottom.]

While many fertility centers closed down in the first few months of COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, CHR never closed our doors, despite our location in New York City, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country. We remained open for consultations, workups and fertility treatments because most of the patients we take care of are older and/or have severely diminished ovarian reserve, which makes their need for fertility treatment quite urgent. A few months may be a no big deal for a 28-year-old woman with blocked tubes, but the same few months make a significant difference in the type of patients we treat.

Dr. Gleicher explains CHR's decision to remain open during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City.

Obviously, the decision to remain open was not made lightly; we quickly put in place safety precautions against the spread of the novel coronavirus and updated them as more information became available. These policies—already in place by mid-March—form the basis of our current COVID-19 precautions. In late April, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued reopening guidelines for fertility centers that had closed down. We have updated our precautions based on these guidelines, those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government bodies, as well as newly emerging evidence in the literature.

While these precautions are constantly evolving, here is an overview of how we protect our patients, staff and the community at large:

General guidelines for consultations and appointments

Entering the CHR

Inside the CHR

Staff facilitates quick in-and-out for all patients who visit CHR in person.

All staff who can work from home are required to work from home to reduce density.

Staffing

Staff training

Reporting and quarantine

Cleaning

We hope that these precautions will be protective for everyone, but nobody can guarantee that neither a patient nor staff member at any point will contract the COVID-19 virus. Following the April 24 guidelines from the ASRM and in the spirit of transparency, CHR has also instituted a new informed consent process to inform patients about the potential risks of fertility treatments and of pregnancy during this outbreak. For further details, please review our comments in the VOICE and COVID-19 Bulletins.

There are patients whose dream to conceive has special urgency. We are proud to have been the ultimate “fertility center of last resort” throughout this crisis period. Now that increasing numbers of fertility centers are reopening their doors, we, of course, continue to provide fertility treatments as safely and effectively as possible. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about our COVID-19 precautions or have trouble accessing fertility treatments that suit your situation and timeline. Times are difficult, but we are confident we can find a solution.

CHR's COVID-19 Bulletins

Norbert Gleicher, MD

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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