Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update March 23, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended the world, greatly impacting the United States and communities worldwide.

It is our goal to assure Fertility Specialists Medical Group (FSMG) patients that we are closely monitoring all developments. We adhere to recommendations from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), California Department of Family Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and local and state health agencies.

As we continue to observe the daily developments, many patients have been calling and emailing with questions about how this affects their treatment status, what we are doing to minimize the spread in our clinics, and if operating hours have changed. Rest assured, we are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and each of our team members is committed to working with our patients in continuing their journey to parenthood.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

COVID-19 can cause severe respiratory illness.

Prevention & treatment of COVID-19

Are you or anyone in your household currently exhibiting flu-like symptoms, such as fever or cough or shortness of breath? Have you been exposed (within 6 feet) to a confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of onset of symptoms? Have you tested positive for COVID-19?

If you answered Yes to any of the above, please call your primary health care provider so that appropriate precautions can be taken. Please call our office to discuss options. We kindly request that you reschedule your appointment as per guidelines provided by ASRM and CDC.

American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommendations

  1. Postponement of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent gamete cryopreservation.
  2. Actively consider cancellation of all embryo transfers, whether fresh or frozen.
  3. Proceed with fertility patients who are currently in-cycle or who require urgent stimulation and cryopreservation.
  4. Postpone all elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures.
  5. Practice social distancing: reduce in-person interactions and develop telemedicine policy.

Social distancing & one guest policy

To practice social distancing and follow ASRM essential guidelines, we are offering telemedicine appointments for both new patient consults and follow-up visits that do not require in-office examination. Consults will be conducted via telephone or video conferencing.

At this time, we have implemented a “one guest” policy for any onsite appointments to minimize in-person interactions. No children are permitted in our offices at this time.

Fertility treatment in-cycle

Fertility Specialists Medical Group (FSMG) will complete in-cycle treatment for patients who began ovarian stimulation on/before Monday, March 23, 2020.

IUI, FET, embryo transfer, egg donor cycles

In observance of the ASRM guidelines, from Tuesday, March 23 – Tuesday, March 31, 2020, FSMG will be rescheduling all cycles that involve an immediate attempted pregnancy. Cycles will be postponed until April 2020 (as of now), including:

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
  • Fresh embryo transfer
  • Embryo creation with donor egg

IVF, egg freezing, ovarian induction cycles

In compliance with ASRM guidelines, from Tuesday, March 23 – Tuesday, March 31, FSMG will suspend the initiation of new ovarian induction cycles. These cycles include:

  • In vitro vertilization (IVF)
  • Oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing)
  • Ovarian induction (OI)

Credit for in-cycle disruptions due to COVID-19

Currently, we are proceeding with all in-cycles for patients who are in good health. If during a scheduled cycle, a patient begins to demonstrate symptoms of illness and has a confirmed exposure to COVID-19, the cycle may be delayed or canceled subjected to the discretion of our fertility experts. If under the directive of your primary care physician it is decided that your cycle must be delayed or canceled due to COVID-19, we may issue a credit for medical expenses acquired from cycle start through to cycle cancellation (not including medication).

Message from Ricardo Azziz, CEO of ASRM

“This is not going to be easy for infertility patients and reproductive care practices. We know the sacrifices patients have to make under the best of circumstances, and we are loath to add in any way to that burden. And it will not be easy for our members. The disruption to routines, the stress on staff members and the very real prospect of economic hardship loom large for ASRM members all over the world. But the fact is that given what we know, as well as what we don’t, suspending non-urgent fertility care is really the most prudent course of action at this time.”

Message from Fertility Specialists Medical Group

“We understand this is a difficult time. We cannot place greater emphasis on taking preventive measures for our current and future patients. Everyone here at Fertility Specialists Medical Group wants you to know we are in this together. We thank everyone for their understanding. Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns.”

Resources

Read CDC coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Read ASRM guidance on fertility care during COVID-19

Read the California Department of Public Health’s coronavirus (COVID-19) updates