Embrace Fertility has been closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 virus. We have reviewed statements by the WHO, State and Federal Governments, RANZCOG, the Fertility Society of Australia and REPROMED and have instituted the recommended precautions of social distancing, hand sanitisation and if required we will self isolate (none of our staff have had symptoms or contact with an affected person).
Why is it important to take these measures?
Most of our patients (and staff) are in their reproductive years, generally below 50 years of age. Few have other illnesses that would exacerbate the effect of a COVID-19 infection and most (99.8%) in this age group would have a mild illness and recover well from COVID-19. Please note that there have been no children under 10 years of age that have died from COVID-19 and this group appears to recover the best from the virus.
The main reason to take precautions, as recommended by professional groups and government institutions, is to protect elderly relatives, the grandparents we need and vulnerable members in society (like those having chemotherapy) who we, and our patients, may have contact with. Additionally, if all the cases happen at once, it will overwhelm the hospitals in Adelaide and the doctors and nurses who need to look after others with coronavirus. COVID-19 (each person transmits the virus to 2-3.1 others) is more infectious that influenza A (each person transmits the virus to 1.3 others) so if we can flatten the curve so infections occur more slowly, when people do get ill they will have good access to the care they need. So as members of society and as a medical practice, we at Embrace Fertility in North Adelaide will do our best to limit the spread of the virus.
How do I prevent viral transmission?
We will provide hand gels and hand washing facilities in all rooms, so please feel free to use them. We are spacing our appointments to avoid congestion and you may be asked to wait in a room off the waiting room if it becomes crowded. We are lucky with the size of our unit and the way we organise our work that mostly there will be smaller numbers of people present when you visit. We will want to shake your hand but won’t be able to, so please bear with us.
What do I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?
Please contact us on 1300 848470 or 0403 933 312 after hours, if you develop symptoms which include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, sore muscles or less commonly runny nose and gastrointestinal upset. We can work out the best plan for you and if you are already having treatment, we can arrange testing and care for you; we may be able to defer treatment (for example by freezing embryos) and we can use ‘Zoom’ and other telehealth measures if you would like to see us remotely.
If you are flying to Australia for IVF treatment or have been in close contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to have a 14 day self-isolation quarantine before attending the clinic or starting treatment.
What if I have to attend REPROMED for treatment?
REPROMED have instituted a similar COVID-19 response and are also very carefully monitoring the progression of the virus. Our doctors will treat you at REPROMED where similar precautions will be in place.
What if I am pregnant?
Unlike influenza A, which affects pregnant women severely, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to cause a more severe illness in pregnancy. The Lancet has published an article that did not demonstrate transmission of the virus through the placenta to the baby in 19 women. Although this is a small number of women, and more data is being collected, the experience of doctors in our affected countries is reassuring.
If you become pregnant, we will monitor you closely. If you develop any concerns or symptoms regarding Coronavirus, we will liaise closely with obstetricians, obstetric physicians and infectious disease consultants at Women’s and Children’s, the Royal Adelaide and in private to ensure you receive optimal advice and care.
Thank you for your patience during this unusual time. We appreciate your support and will do everything we can to support you during this difficult time for the entire community. Please let us know if you want clarification about COVID-19 or have any questions.
– Associate Professor Louise Hull and the team at Embrace Fertility