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Open or switch to any news channel and quite understandably the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is making all the headlines. Much of this information is based on practical advice supported by the latest scientific and medical minds and research – there is however, much that is not. It is easy to be confused -: terrifying, reassuring, and, unfortunately, very often also misleading, news today, is bad news.
For anyone struggling with infertility this outbreak has intensified feelings of anxiety, emotional well-being and practical difficulties – for those seeking to address their fertility issues abroad this is a particularly difficult time.
Important IVF COVID-19 resource – June 2020 update:
We have prepared a comprehensive guide – videos – for patients regarding IVF and COVID-19 at MyIVFAnswers.com. Videos have been organized with top IVF experts from Europe addressing common questions from patients all over the world.
IVF abroad - What You Can Do Now
We know that deciding on IVF in another country is already a huge step – one that involves weighing up many pros and cons. But what if you also have to take into account external factors such as the present pandemic? Global issues like these override most things including access to travel. So, it is perfectly legitimate to consider what this means to you. We are hearing daily the difficulties faced by travellers and we write this article many countries have taken the step to close their borders to lessen the spread of the virus. Travel firms are laying off staff and many thousands of holiday plans have been cancelled or put on hold.
Should you do the same with your planned your IVF treatment cycle? Probably yes.
We recognise that as fertility clinics around the world put a temporary halt on new treatments many patients will be experiencing severe anxiety about how thay can access treatment in the future. Whilst no one can categorically say how long the present situation will last we can use this time to step back and reflect.
You have time to consider, reconsider and research all options including travelling for fertility treatment. We would encourage everyone to take your time and read as many websites, articles, blogs and pieces of research about the options available to you.
It is difficult but try and turn all the negativity surrounding the virus into positivity – use your time to build up a clear plan and when the time is right, choose you preferred fertility clinic and destination safe in the knowledge that you have explored all avenues.
What are the current options available for IVF patients?
If you’re looking for IVF center abroad, we may help you narrow down your choice – connecting you with IVF clinics: with good reputation, transparent processes and communication, proven success rates and chosen by many patients – we have feedback from them and can share it with you…
So, If you’re thinking about egg donation abroad:
- you may browse through the list of best IVF clinics abroad – specialising in IVF with donor eggs treatment
(we’ll support you with unique, detailed clinic’s profiles), check egg donation cost a per destination
- you may use our unique tool to match your preferences (age, donor requirement, destination) >>>
If you’re thinking about general IVF treatment abroad:
Sign up for the upcoming online events - #IVFWEBINARS - you may be interested in:
COVID-19 - latest recommendations and gudelines for IVF patients
Take a look at the recommendations, guidelines and announcements from national and international Reproductive Associations. You’ll find a list of announcements with a links below. There are informations and guidelines about current situation in selected countries in terms of IVF treatment and IVF clinics.
Latest guidelines about Coronavirus and IVF in European countries:
COVID-19 - 6 things you need to know - the Guide
If you want to know more about how to proceed while TTC, during treatment or during pregnancy – download “COVID-19 – 6 things you need to know” guide.
The Guide was published by Denisa Priadková from in-fertility. The guide is updated on regular basis.
IVF abroad and Coronavirus: What To Ask
When facing any new infectious disease, a lot of things remain unknown. We will have many questions relating to the impact the virus has, or will have on IVF treatment. Hopefully, some of these questions will be answered reasonably quickly as researchers around the world investigate the virus and develop a better knowledge of how it has evolved to date; how it is likely to develop in the future and what impact it could possibly have on embryo implantation and pregnancy. There are many questions to ask such as whether it is safe for a patient who has COVID-19 but displays no symptoms to undergo any form of assisted reproduction.
We would all like to know the answer to this and of many other questions we might have. In order that we might help you get a better understanding of the impact COVID-19 might have on IVF practice we have approached the field’s top specialists and advisors. We have approached acclaimed fertility specialists and top IVF clinic representatives and shared the most frequently asked questions relating to COVID19 and IVF treatment we have received.
IVF and Coronavirus - Frequently Asked Questions
Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There is no data regarding the impact that the infection can have on implantation. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease. This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers. Other forms of coronavirus have been linked to increased adverse outcomes during pregnancy, but data specific to COVID-19 is not yet available.
Therefore, at Fertty International, as a precautionary measure – (and in line with the position of the main scientific societies in reproductive medicine as ASRM, ESHRE and SEF)- we advise that all fertility patients considering or planning treatment, even if they do not meet the diagnostic criteria for Covid-19 infection, should avoid becoming pregnant at this time. For those patients already having treatment, we suggest considering deferred pregnancy with oocyte or embryo freezing for later embryo transfer.
Dr. Maria Arque
Specialist in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Fertty International – Spain
First of all, the coronavirus is not transmitted by gametes (oocytes and sperm) or embryos. For this reason, neither gametes nor embryos can influence in any way the expansion of the corona virus. Regarding the possibility of catching the corona virus during pregnancy and its possible consequences, there are no any official studies in this respect. We think that the corona virus will behave as a contagious flu infection and its effect will depend on the present involvement with the pregnant woman’s clinical case. Among the most frequent and severe consequences are miscarriages, premature births or some other pathologies. For all of this, the assisted reproduction offers the possibility to freeze oocytes or embryos with the encouragement of proceeding to the transfer and other appropriate actions once the pandemic ends.
MD José Jesús López Galvez,
Medical Director, PreGen/UR Vistahermosa – Spain
From all the data that we have available until now there is no evidence of any negative effect of the virus on pregnancies. When we focus in the early pregnancies there is not enough evidence that the infection can increase early miscarriage or cause birth defects. Even though the virus is really new and may be too early to know other longer-term impacts on the baby it appears to be not cause of alarm for those already pregnant.
Dr. Jessica García Cataño,
Clinica Tambre – Spain
In this sense, and as a conclusion of the above, the measures that must be adopted to avoid the contagion must follow the same preventive guidelines that the health authorities have elaborated for any person, whether pregnant or not, even in treatment:
- Wash your hands frequently, especially when you go out and when you come back home;
- If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with the inside bend of the elbow or with a tissue;
- Avoid contact with other people and notify the Health Authorities if you suspect you are infected with the virus, avoiding going to health centres.
Dr. Maria Arque
Specialist in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Fertty International – Spain
The COVID -19 has essentially changed the patent’s flow in the ART centers all around the World.
We experience the lack of knowledge and information how aggressive the virus can behave towards reproductive system and the fetus. We may hardly advise if it safe to extend the breastfeeding during the pandemic period. Despite the recent RCOG Guidance on COVID -19, published on 09 March, saying: «Pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of coronavirus than the general population and there is no evidence that the virus can pass to a baby during pregnancy…and at the moment there is no evidence that the virus can be carried in breast milk» most of patients are keep on canceling their planned treatments, stimulations and embryo transfers.
These factors may definitely lead to decreasing in demand for Egg Donation programs as well. Clinics are less motivated to invite egg donors and initiate new protocols of stimulations.
Those countries that declared the national emergency or just support the quarantine activities should also reduce the number of visitors in their clinics for the purposes of virus spreading protection, which badly effects the new donor’s recruitment either.
Nevertheless, owning a largest European egg cryo bank NGC is always ready to provide patients with frozen eggs, which helps a lot in case of «fresh» stimulations absence.
As a resource – egg donors are not decreasing even in periods of pandemic War, they are still willing to donate and get their compensations. However low demand dictates low supply nowadays for sure.
Dr. Diana Lobzeva
The head of NGC Clinic international unit – Russia
The Coronavirus outbreak has impacted on the fertility field like every other industry or activity. Clinics have responded quickly and have been sharing updates on the outbreak and its effect on services as and when they are available. In the short term we just do not know how long this outbreak will last and how it will continue to affect our daily lives. It will end however and when this moment does happen I think we will see a very large uptake and demand for fertility treatments. We are urging people to use any time they have to continue to research all their treatment options; contact clinics during this downtime; speak to those who will be responsible for their care once clinics return to some form of normality and even get ready for treatment by undergoing preparatory tests and scans if at all possible.
Unfortunately, infertility issues will not simply disappear – support and treatment services are responding to ever increasing numbers of individuals and couples seeking to address fertility problems. Coronavirus will have a major and lasting effect on people’s lives but those seeking help with their fertility journeys will still need the services offered by scientists, medics, nurses and support staff in fertility clinics and hospital long after the virus disappears.
It follows therefore that the number of patients seeking to address their fertility needs will continue to rise and I see no reason why many of them will continue to access the diverse range of treatments offered by clinics and hospitals across Europe.
International Fertility Company
In conclusion, it is important to seek out reliable information and act on it. Be sceptical of implausible conspiracy theories or claims of “fake news” that dismiss recommendations from public health officials. Addressing the concerns surrounding the Coronavirus requires accessible, reliable, and frequently updated information; the best we can do is to look to the experts whose mission it is to protect public health.
This time we are talking to dr. Thanos Paraschos, IVF Specialist, Consultant Obstetrician – GynaecologistDirector of EmBIO Medical Center from Greece. COVID-19 things you should
IVF abroad, coronavirus and unanswered questions
According to the data gathered by FertilityClinicsAbroad.com in the period from January to August 2019, the most frequently chosen countries for IVF treatment with both own and donor eggs are
At the point of publication, Spain and other European countries are confirming many coronavirus cases – and this number is going to increase quickly, that is for sure. Does it mean that the number of IVF patients travelling abroad will decline? Yes, again. What will be the response of the clinics? In the short term all but a few have closed their doors and we will wait to see if, when normality resumes whether they will adjust their policies, procedures and costs to both reassure and attract patients once more.