Your Safety is Our Top Priority
We understand that many of you have concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2) pandemic and what it means for you if you are currently undergoing or considering fertility treatment and pregnancy. ACFS has implemented added precautions to protect the health of its patients and staff. These changes include but are not limited to:
- Encouraging COVID-19 vaccination among patients and staff
- The mandatory use of masks by staff and visitors at all times
- Use of telemedicine and virtual appointments whenever possible
- Restricted guest policy
- Screening of visitors and staff for signs and symptoms of coronavirus prior to entry into the clinic
- Testing of patients for recent coronavirus infection prior to treatments and procedures
- Maintaining distance between individuals in the office except during procedures where appropriate PPE is in use
- Increased sanitation and cleaning of contact surfaces
- Use of electronic signatures and payment methods whenever possible
- Maintaining manageable patient volumes to ensure that safety and quality of care are not sacrificed
We recognize that these precautions are going to require adjustments and sacrifices that may at times lead to feelings of anxiety or frustration, augmented by the uncertainty and emotional whirlwind of changes that we are already facing in our daily lives.
There is no doubt that our ACFS fertility team misses the smiling faces and hugs we are used to in our office. We miss those extra pregnancy ultrasounds that allow us to hang on to our dear patients for just a few more weeks before they transition to OB care. We promise, however, that we are still your ACFS family. We are here for you and are dedicated to your safety and success at every step of your journey!
COVID-19 Spread and Prevention
How COVID-19 Spreads
COVID-19 spreads mainly in respiratory droplets while in close contact with someone who is infected. Many who are infected will have symptoms. However, a significant portion of infected individuals will not have symptoms and are still contagious.
COVID-19 infections can also result from touching a contaminated surface and transferring viral particles to your eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus that causes COVID-19 is highly contagious and has demonstrated easy and sustainable person-to-person spread.
Below is a list of ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Get vaccinated!
- Avoid exposure (e.g., large indoor gatherings).
- Wear a mask when indoors with non-household members.
- Wash your hands often, especially after having been in public, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- When washing is not possible, clean hands with hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Rub hands together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
- Maintain at least 6 feet between you and others.
- Avoid contact with individuals who are sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow, and immediately wash hands for 20 seconds or use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily (countertops, doorknobs, keyboards).
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have been monitoring the pandemic closely and are especially focused on protecting vulnerable health populations, including those who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant and their future children.
We know that there are potentially increased health risks to pregnant women, their pregnancies, and resulting children. Unfortunately, the absolute level of risk to pregnant women and their babies remains unknown.
The following are additional statements, cautions, and recommendations summarized from ASRM, ACOG, and CDC statements:
- Available data suggest that pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 infections are at increased risk of more severe illness compared with nonpregnant women, and the CDC includes pregnant and recently pregnant individuals in its “increased risk” category for severe COVID-19 illness.
- Although the absolute risk for severe COVID-19 is low, available data indicate an increased risk of ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation and ECMO, and death in pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 infection.
- Women with advanced maternal age, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and lung disease may be at an even higher risk of severe illness.
There is no currently approved treatment (medication) for COVID-19, and if a pregnant woman gets COVID-19, current medications used to provide compassionate care to patients afflicted with COVID-19 are contraindicated for use in pregnancy.
- There is very little information on the transmission of COVID-19 to fetuses. It is believed that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to a fetus in utero is low. However, an infected mother can transmit the virus to her infant after birth through respiratory droplets.
The COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy
The following recommendations come from the CDC with support from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine:
- COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.
- Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
- If you get pregnant after receiving your first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine), you should get your second shot to get as much protection as possible.
Research on the COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated the following:
- Researchers found no significant changes in sperm production after vaccination.
- A study comparing women undergoing IVF embryo transfer found no differences in pregnancy rates between women who received the COVID-19 vaccine vs. those who did not or who were previously infected by COVID-19.
We are aware of the false claims that COVID-19 vaccination may have a negative impact on reproduction. The article, “COVID-19 and fertility: unmasking the truth”, addresses the misinformation that has been circulating regarding COVID-19 vaccination and impaired fertility.
It has been falsely suggested that COVID-19 vaccines induce the production of antibodies to syncytin-1, a protein involved in placental development. COVID-19 vaccines promote cells to produce SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which results in the immune system producing antibodies against spike protein. Syncytin-1 and spike protein share no similarities other than a short amino acid sequence, which experts agree is too small to trigger an immune response against syncytin-1. Moreover, COVID vaccines do not contain syncytin-1 nor any material that would result in syncytin-1 production.
At ACFS, we promote COVID vaccination for all of our employees and patients. We encourage you to speak to your physician about any concerns you may have regarding COVID vaccination.
We are all in this together.
- Fertility and Sterility Dialogue, 2021 Jan 19
- Fertil Steril. 2021 Jul;116(1):16-24)
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