Does COVID-19 affect fertility and pregnancy?
[This article deals with a rapidly developing situation. It was written by Norbert Gleicher, MD, on March 12, 2020 and published on March 13, 2020.]
Currently, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 does not appear to affect fertility positively or negatively. Image by Tanaka Pendeke via Unsplash.
Once again, we have to acknowledge that, so far, very little data are available on how the virus affects pregnancy. Preliminary data, however, suggest that in contrast to the influenza virus which appears to have an affinity for pregnancy, COVID-19 does not significantly and adversely affect pregnancies. The pneumonia women develop from the virus in pregnancy is not different from pneumonia developed in the nonpregnant state and there was no evidence for vertical transmission of the virus to the fetus (Chen et al., Lancet 2020;395:809-815). Too little data has been published so far to be certain, however, and CHR’s recommendation for women who are trying to conceive and/or are already early pregnant is, of course, to avoid the virus as much as is possible, which means following the standard infection precautions, widely disseminated through the media. But this is also the standard recommendation for preventing influenza, which does have potentially significant adverse outcome on pregnancy. All of this, however, also means that, for almost all people exposed to the COVID-19, the experience will neither be lethal nor catastrophic. Many, indeed, may barely notice.
Considering the current CDC and other government guidelines and recommendations, CHR, nevertheless, views protection of the center’s patients’ health while on our premises as a core responsibility. CHR for that reason has implemented stringent rules regarding access to the CHR facilities for staff as well as patients and their significant others. These rules are not meant to complicate visits to CHR and/or to exclude friends and family from these visits but are meant to protect all of our patients from the COIVF-19 virus while at CHR. Those rules will terminate as soon as the virus is no longer considered a major public health problem by the CDC and other professional organizations. Until then, we, however, will insist that everybody follow these emergency rules.
CHR's COVID-19 Bulletins
This is a part of the March 2020 CHR VOICE.
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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