Whilst there is much uncertainty around the progress of COVID-19 in the UK, the advice for pregnant women is the same as for the general public. There do not appear to be extra precautions required. Our priority as fertility professionals must be to keep patients, their gametes and embryos and staff safe – following national and local guidance. As these change we need to ensure that we respond appropriately including decisions around completing or cancelling current fertility treatment, not starting new treatments, considering follow-up arrangements and changing face-to face consultations to phone or video calls. There should be ongoing dialogue with patients and regard to their choices.
Staffing pressures and resources including the availability of consumables and drugs may limit ongoing work. Acknowledging the potential impact of our treatments on NHS services which will be stretched in coming months means it is important to take measures to avoid hospital admission for our patients. All centres should consider what their working minimum needs to be to maintain safe gamete and embryo storage both in practical and legal terms. As the situation evolves, centres will need to modify their practices and workload to ensure that they can safely proceed down to that minimum. It is important to consider future plans in addition and liaison with NHS and commissioners should be considered at an early stage.
BFS and ARCS are monitoring the situation and will communicate further as things develop.
Jane Stewart – Chair of BFS
Jason Kasraie – Chair of ARCS