Commentary

National Infertility Awareness Week Amidst COVID-19

National Infertility Awareness week is April 19-25, 2020. Even amidst a global pandemic, recognizing National Infertility Awareness week is crucial to breaking down the stigmas that surround infertility and to empower those struggling with infertility. Know that many resources exist for infertility, such as Resolve and American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and fertility clinics are providing updated information to their patients wherever possible.

The COVID-19 virus has resulted in people putting their lives on hold, from planned vacations, work events, social gatherings, and holidays to non-emergency medical procedures. For individuals and couples pursuing infertility treatment, this pandemic may mean a delay in starting a family or adding to one. For more information on how COVID-19 is affecting family planning, visit here. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recently issued new guidelines advising people to avoid starting new treatment cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and egg freezing. People are also encouraged to cancel embryo transfers and all surgeries that are not emergencies. In addition to the above-mentioned precautions, ASRM recommends that patients who are currently taking fertility medications as part of an IVF cycle finish their current cycle and then freeze their eggs and/or embryos for a later transfer.

As you can probably imagine, infertility compounded with COVID-19 introduces new fears and concerns for many infertility patients. In addition to the many unknowns about infertility, individuals and couples with infertility now have to face the uncertainty of a pandemic, the social distancing requirement, and a delay or interruption in infertility treatments. People who use a surrogate or gestational carrier now have the added concern of their carrier and baby being exposed to COVID-19 or the very real possibility of not being allowed in the hospital room during the birth of their child.  Because of these added stressors, make sure you are taking care of yourself and checking in with the people around you. If you need to talk to a medical professional, many doctors are now available through videoconference or telephone.

If you know someone struggling with infertility, be sure to keep in touch with him or her through phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom, email, text messages, etc. Continuing to stay in contact with your family and friends is so important, especially during this uncertain time. Supporting each other is essential. As always, we are here to support you in any way we can.

RESOURCES

Coping during COVID-19

Resources for Infertility and COVID-19

COVID-19 Updates and Resources through ASRM

National Infertility Awareness Week