How does COVID-19 affect reproductive medicine?

The SEF and ESHRE recommend stopping medical activity until COVID-19 no longer poses a threat to our health.

Right now, the COVID-19 is the major presence in our everyday lives . The threat that it poses to our health is so great that hospitals have stopped all medical activity except for necessary programming and emergencies. They have taken these measures in order to address and deal with this disease that has currently taken over our lives with its deadlines, safety procedures and recommendations, all of which have been implemented for our safety.

Reproductive medicine is one of the affected areas of this medical shutdown. Infertility is a disease as classified by the WHO, and it is widely known that the passage of time is a factor that aggravates the majority of the cases. However, the scientific community has agreed to issue the recommendation to limit all activity related to this branch of medicine until the threat subsides.

Both the ESHRE (The European Society of Human Reproduction) and the SEF (The Spanish Fertility Society) have advised reducing all activity in reproduction centers. This is especially relevant and important in Spain, given the recent declaration of alarm status restricting all patient transport and mobility throughout the country.

Both Societies have announced the following recommendations:

  • Complete all initiated IVF-TE cycles.
  • Do not start any new cycles.
  • Perform transfers via delayed method.
  • Do not perform any vitrified embryo transfers.
  • Cancel all activities related to insemination programs.

According to the SEF’s public statement, with this, we must "accept the harsh consequences that these measures have for the patients and facilities. We are at a crucial moment, and it is absolutely necessary that we firmly collaborate with the health administration in order to maintain the population’s well-being.”

A temporary halt to be born again later

TheIVI was one of the first clinics to follow these recommendations. "Thanks to the advanced level of reproductive medicine in Spain, we are able to vitrify the embryos in order to transfer them at a future time, therefore affecting the patients as little as possible. If this had happened 15 years ago, with conventional freezing, the impact would have been much greater" explains Dr. Pedro Royo, director of IVI Pamplona.

Now the most important thing is to follow all recommendations and to wait for this situation to pass. We must look towards the future with hope and know that the best is yet to come. Science will help make this happen. All that is positive and optimistic will return, embodied in the lives of doctors, embryologists, nurses, reproductive psychologists and, of course, future parents.

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