Do’s & Don’ts for couples undergoing Fertility / IVF treatment during COVID pandemic
World over, consistent research has shown that fertility in both men and women is on the decline due to various lifestyle factors like nutrition, exposure to organic pollutants, stress, mobile radiation etc.; some of which are under our control and many of which are not. Meaning our hectic lifestyle is directly proportional to infertility, and the COVID-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc across the globe has only added to the woes of couples undergoing IVF treatment. Did you know that in India alone, almost 1 in every 6 couples is looking for an infertility solution?
Luckily, there is good news on the horizon, with several preparations of the vaccines now reaching the common man. However,the on-going vaccination drive has also raised many questions, especially in women who are currently pregnant and/or undergoing IUI?IVF treatments. Is it safe to seek IVF treatment when the Corona virus might be lurching around the corner? Could it harm the baby?Is it the best time for embryo retrieval or transfer? Will vaccination harm me and reduce my fertility status?
Having treated many thousands of patients from India and abroad, in the past 25 years, doctors from Bloom IVF, one of the oldest and well established fertility centres in India, answers some questions that may be niggling in many minds,regarding vaccination for couples undergoing IVF treatment during COVID.
Should one delay IVF treatment because of COVID?
Majority of patients in the reproductive age are generally not in the high-risk group. So, one need not delay IVF consultation and treatment just because of COVID.Many internationally recommended safety measures have been put into place. To minimize contact, tel-consultations are being done for the initial and follow-up consultations Most blood investigations are done using home visits. The patients are sent to the labs and clinics, near their place of residence, to do he semen test for the Husband and an ultrasound examination for the wife. Once all these are done, the couple comes for a one time visit to the clinic for consultation and treatment is planned and initiated.Special air cleaning and sanitization systems both in the outpatient department and inpatient operation theatres and labs have been installed. Most laboratories have a HEPA filtration positive pressure air handling system, which maintains quality assurance, infection control and rigorous cleaning at all times. This minimizes the risk of COVID transmission to couples, doctors,staff, embryos, eggs, or sperm.
Istaking COVID Vaccination safe while undergoing Infertility treatment or while being pregnant?
COVID vaccination is safe both for those taking treatment for infertility or for those who are already pregnant. A large study from USA which studied nearly 20,000 pregnant patients who have been vaccinated, has not shown any danger to the mother. There is no need to delay getting pregnant after covid vaccination.
Does corona infection or vaccination impact your fertility?
There’s no direct evidence suggesting that COVID-19 infection or Covid Vaccination has an impact on fertility. As a special precaution, all patients undergoing IUI or IVF treatment are tested twice, during the start as well as before doing a procedure. If the RT PCR test comes positive for COVID, the treatment cycles is cancelled and postponed by two months.
Will corona virus affect pregnancy?
Studies show that the risk of COVID infection in a pregnant female is the same as that compared to a non-pregnant female. Besides, there is very little evidence to suggest that pregnant women can pass COVID infection to their babies. Coronavirus is not present in amniotic fluid or breast milk in majority of patients. Looking at these facts, it is highly unlikely that COVID-19 can affect your pregnancy.
What precautions should onetake while undergoing Fertility /IVF to stay steer clear of corona virus?
One should follow regular precautions at all times to prevent COVID-19 infections, like
- Social distancing 3 to 6 feet
- wearing a face mask at all times when in public,
- frequently washing and sanitizing hands,
- disinfecting and cleaning used surfaces regularly,
- not touching your mouth, nose and eyes before sanitizing your hands, etc
How safe are Bloom IVF clinics and what are the facilities provided?
Bloom IVF strives to achieve COVID-19 free status to ensure patient safety at all times and have undergone the following changes in their clinics in Mumbai(Opera House&Bandra), Navi Mumbai, South Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad & Mohali for patient safety:
- Video Consultation: Bloom has introduced digital consultation and counselling to keep patient visits &clinic footfall to minimal.
- Minimizing patient exposure: To reduce exposure, Bloom IVF provides home blood collection. In males with suspected semen problems, semen collection is done at home & then transported to the laboratory for analysis. They also offer home delivery of medications and prescriptions.
- Face Mask and PPE: In line with national guidelines, our staff will be wearing PPE kits during the procedures. Besides, we will request you to wear a face mask while in the clinic as per the Government advice.
- Sanitizing: Bloom has installed ultraviolet lights, which when used during non-working hours carry out sterilization to sanitize the surfaces and air.
- COVID Screening: At every Bloom IVF centre, couples are screened for COVID using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) before starting the treatment and which is repeated prior to all treatment stages, such as embryo transfer or ovum pick up. If either spouse is detected positive for COVID, the cycle is cancelled. Inthose patients wherein a cycle is cancelled, discounts are given in the next IVF attempt, to compensate the financial loss of cycle cancellation.
Bloom IVF was established in 1995 by well established and highly experienced doctors who have been recognised for their 25 years’ service with umpteen awards and accolades to their name. The highly acclaimed team of internationally trained IVF specialists at Bloom IVF has been practicing for over25years and their success rates being similar to the top-most facilities in India and countries like UK&USA; with their cumulative live rate at the end of 3 attempts being 70 – 80 per cent.
Bloom also has an expertise in treating repeated IVF failure patients, egg freezing, and male infertility including zero sperm count, PGD Pre Genetic Diagnosis. (Selection and Disclosure of sex of the baby is illegal and banned in India}. For more information one can visit www.bloomivf.com