How has COVID-19 affected Couples and their IVF Treatment?

Covid-19 or the most dreaded Coronavirus has adversely affected the people, businesses, and the world economy at large. The economies have been upended and touched their lowest-ever with no jobs and businesses at a standstill.

Talking about the health of the people, the virus has touched the old and the young with a fatal grip that the death toll among the older population has been increasing ever since the months of March 2020.

The effect on people’s health, physical and emotional, has been inexplicable. This leads us to talk about another vulnerable population- i.e. women undergoing pregnancy and the couples seeking IVF or other infertility treatments.

“It has been a tough situation for the whole world, the doctors and medical fraternity along with patients seeking infertility treatments,” says Punjab’s best gynecologist, Dr. ShivaniBhutani, EVA Hospital, Ludhiana. She adds that Covid-19 had initially brought a standstill to all the important medical procedures at the outset.

However, with a change in the approach and mindset, and trying to move on with the virus, people have resumed their daily chores as well as medical procedures.

How can Covid-19 affect IVF Treatments?

In-vitro fertilization or IVF is the most effective and common treatment for patients with infertility for any explained or unexplained reasons. There is a 40% chance that a woman under the age of 35 conceives with IVF while a woman over the age of 40 has a 15% more likely chance of motherhood.

IVF is a cycle that starts with ovarian stimulation and goes on to egg retrieval, sperm collection, fertilization, and embryo transfer. This a timed procedure where each step happens on a proper timeline schedule and leads to the next consecutive step.

With the lockdown in the apprehension of Covid-19, the treatments and the ongoing steps in the timeline of the couples undergoing the treatment had to be called off. This led to disruption in the schedule of the treatment and led to despair among couples who badly wanted a baby.

This also led to financial loss and mental depression among patients. Most of the fertility centers canceled the treatments and enhanced the apprehensions and anxiety among patients. Covid-19 has definitely posed unique challenges for global healthcare systems and infertility treatments.

What are the Ways that can Fight Covid-19 while Resuming Treatment?

The medical fraternity has now started resuming medical care under strict vigilance and precautions. Dr. Shivani says ‘safety first’ is the protocol at EVA Hospital where they administered telemedicine or virtual appointments in cases where physical presence wasn’t necessary.

A staggered patient entry, only by appointment, has been the norm, and the staff, clinic, and patients have been monitored for stringent sanitization and other precautions like PPE kits, masks, and shields, etc.

Dr. Bhutani says that even the laboratories have been sanitized and embryology staff has been particular about sanitizing to rule out any possibility of contamination in the embryology laboratories. Strict care and monitoring is required to conduct any IVF treatment or contact with any asymptomatic patient.

The staff has given utmost priority in wearing protection uniforms that the regular work uniform. After every patient visit, the clinics are disinfected to rule any infection whatsoever.

Also ReadWhat are precautions for females before IVF?

The SARS-CoV-2 virus or the Coronavirus has exhibited strange features of surviving in the air for several hours and even at the usual laboratory temperatures of about 22 degrees. This enhances the chances of survival of the virus and can affect the preserved eggs or contaminate the embryos.

Dr. Bhutani advises clinics to re-evaluate and change the clinical temperatures and pressures to ensure the complete absence of the virus.

The doctors are working around using quality-controlled SARS CoV-2 free culture dishes as the virus can stay in plastic for about 72 hours.

What is the Need of the Hour- Protection or Parenting?

It is quintessential for couples to get the treatment started as they have invested a lot of money, time, and effort already. For the clinics and medical fraternity, cooperating with the norms to flatten the curve, is a priority. There has been no study to determine the impact of Covid-19 on the newborn babies but the risk of impacting the mothers or the would-be mothers is relatively high and disturbing.

Hence the clinics have to adhere to strict and no-exception safety protocols to assure the decline in the curve of Covid-19 cases all around the globe.

Must read: How can you choose the perfect IVF clinic?

Dr. ShivaniBhutani is known for her empathetic attitude and hence has been acclaimed as the most trusted gynecologist in Punjab. She has cautiously put holds on new patients and has been taking extra care with the procedures already in the pipeline.

This includes less human interaction, strict on-appointment treatments and to avoid any potential exposure to patients to imminent miscarriages or preterm deliveries in case of contact with the virus.

Last Words

Time and safety are two important buzzwords for existing and prospective IVF couples in the era of Coronavirus. With new facts and revelations and an increasing number of Covid-19 cases, the doctors have been on guards. For any query or consultation and especially for the most needed mental counseling, get in touch for a real or virtual appointment with Punjab’s best gynecologist, Dr. ShivaniBhutani, and get real and practical advises dealing with infertility in such testing times.