Our Coronavirus Resource Center is available for anyone who has questions about how efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are impacting the pursuit of parenthood. It is constantly being updated with answers to your questions, links to resources, and the latest guidance from global experts.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues and U.S. fertility clinics begin to resume treatment, most have adapted their operations in response to new guidelines from regional and national authorities. A key takeaway from our conversations with clinics is that receiving fertility care in a COVID-19 world is going to look and feel very different than it did in the past, as updated policies and procedures are implemented to make sure patient health and safety are at the forefront.
To help you better prepare for some of the changes you may encounter during this time, we put together a list of some trends we’ve seen at many of the clinics we work with. Keep in mind, though, that you should still consult with your clinic directly to understand how they are approaching care based on region-specific ordinances and guidelines.
Utilization of telehealth wherever possible
While clinics began to utilize telehealth for new patient consultations when cycles were on pause earlier in 2020, as they resume treatment cycles, many clinics will continue to utilize telehealth for visits that do not require in-person care (for services such as imaging, bloodwork, or surgery).
Screening and social distancing policies
For visits that aren’t possible to conduct using telehealth, clinics have also implemented policies to protect both patients and staff in the office. As a result, you may see your clinic implementing mandatory mask and glove policies, screening for COVID-19, adjusting treatment protocols in line with COVID-19 symptoms and testing, updating disinfection policies, increasing the time between appointments, and running at a reduced capacity.
Changes in the waiting room
To limit the number of people going in or out of the clinic, some clinics may ask patients to attend their appointments alone. However, some clinics may allow patients to include their family or partners virtually through phone or video, whenever possible. Some clinics have also implemented “virtual waiting rooms,” where patients are asked to call from their car upon arrival and complete registration forms on their phone prior to entering the clinic.
What do clinics want patients to know?
While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way fertility clinics are operating, clinics are continuing to emphasize that the pandemic has not changed their commitment to patients. “We have been thinking about you during this difficult time and eagerly look forward to safely making your family building dreams come true, ” The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services said.
Dr. Carl Herbert at Pacific Fertility Center echoed similar sentiments: “Social distancing doesn’t mean there won’t be empathy, and it doesn’t mean there won’t be a smile behind the mask — or a tear. We’ll still be the same people — you will, too — and we’ll get through this together.”