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Sunday, April 05, 2020

Coronavirus: Why you should avoid visiting an IVF clinic now

A fertility specialist talks about the risks of undergoing IVF treatment at the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

By: Parenting Desk | Published: March 22, 2020 12:16:03 pm
coronavirus, ivf treatment Chances are that the IVF laboratory may also be infected. (Representative image, source: getty images)

Global medical bodies are now advising women to not undergo non-urgent in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures and intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) at the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), for instance, has specifically asked to suspend initiation of new treatment cycles, according to cnbc.com.

Talking about the risks, Dr (Col) Pankaj Talwar, head, Medical Services- IVF And Fertility, CK Birla Hospital, told Express Parenting, “From the data that we have till now, it quite convincingly shows that coronavirus does not spread from the mother to the baby. The problem is not exactly with the procedure. When a patient visits an IVF clinic or an OPD, their family members usually accompany them. So, at a time, there are at least three to four people present. In such a scenario, chances are that the virus may spread to the doctors, staff and other patients if a person is infected.”

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The doctor pointed out that one could not sure if the patient coming in is a carrier of the virus or not, especially at the time of the year when flu like symptoms are very common due to change in weather. He added, “Besides, you cannot check every patient for coronavirus. So, it is best to avoid starting the IVF cycle for a patient at this moment. In case the treatment is midway, the patient is on hormones already. So, we continue the treatment but do not carry out their embyro transfer, that is, the baby is not put back into the womb just to be safe.”

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The other risk is of the IVF laboratory being infected. “If the virus spreads to the incubator, where we culture the embryo, chances are it may spread to the other embryos also,” explained Dr Talwar. But there are exceptions. “Suppose there are cancer patients coming in for fertility treatment, we generally carry out the procedure as they would also have to start chemotherapy. So, we are not refusing young men and women who need to preserve their fertility. Otherwise, it is best to avoid treatment for now to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection,” he advised.

Here’s a quick coronavirus guide for you to stay updated: Who all should be tested for Covid-19 and when? | How should you quarantine yourself? | How often (and how) should you clean your home? | What is the Janata Curfew announced by PM Modi? | Who are restricted from coming to India, and from when? | How long can the virus live on surfaces or in air around you? | Still more Coronavirus Q&A Explained news here

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