The Covid 19 pandemic is now in its 19th month and there is still much that we are uncovering. As science and medicine work to end, or at the very lease control Covid’s assault on the world population, most people are cautiously resuming their day to day lives.
For those couples who are undergoing treatment for infertility, there are plenty of concerns. Depending on the diagnosis there may also be a sense of urgency to move forward. But what risks exist with pursuing treatment in the age of Covid? And how will a Covid infection impact your IVF procedure?
Covid And IVF: What You Need to Know
You’ve been preparing for IVF since you made the choice to pursue treatment and you really don’t want this to be a “false start”. This is especially true for those diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve or who are of advanced maternal age. It feels like an insult and simply more “bad news” when you’re told to wait any longer. Starting your family shouldn’t be put on hold, right?
But the choice to pursue IVF treatment while you are at greater risk for contracting Covid may not be the most prudent choice to make. As far as the science-backed information stands, according to an observational study conducted by the National Institutes of Health on the effect of the coronavirus (Covid 19) on a subsequent In vitro fertilization attempt, there are some risks.
In this very small and limited study, which may not be applicable to all infertile patients, nine couples (7 with female partner infection, 2 with male partner infection) infected with Covid 19 prior to treatment and resumed IVF 8 days to three months after the infection. While the study indicated the infection didn’t alter the ovarian reserve, scientists found the infection caused a reduction in the quality of embryos. Investigators in the study, therefore, determined that anyone (male or female) who contracts Covid 19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic) should postpone their IVF treatment for a minimum of three months, arbitrarily. Unfortunately this waiting period does not ensure healthy reproductive cells as all eggs in the ovaries are exposed regardless they mature that particular month or later.
A reason to wait if you develop the Covid 19 virus is to limit exposure to your healthcare team. Some clinics and healthcare facilities require a negative Covid test before any elective procedures including IVF. Luckily, waiting for a month or two should not affect the chances of success even in cases of decreased ovarian reserve.
Precautions You Should Take Now
So, what steps can you take to make sure you needn’t pause your IVF treatment due to a Covid 19 infection? First and foremost get the vaccine. You and your partner both need to obtain a vaccine in order to minimize your chances of contracting Covid. In addition to getting vaccinated you should take every precaution as recommended by the CDC; mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
Of course you should always pay attention to the surge numbers in your area for the virus. Vaccinated or not you will need to take the surge seriously and make changes to your daily routine based on exposure to the Covid 19. This may include curtailing your social engagements, curbside pickup for groceries and other things and avoiding indoor gatherings for the time being.
The Covid Vaccine and IVF
For those who fear the vaccine will complicate their attempts to conceive, fear not! The medical community agrees the vaccine is safe for those who are pregnant and trying to become pregnant. Furthermore, if you are pregnant and unvaccinated the Covid 19 virus poses a high risk for a very grave outcome for you and your baby, including pregnancy loss, preterm birth and serious complications for the mother. There is absolutely no evidence the Covid vaccine (Moderna, BioNTech Pfizer or J&J) impairs your fertility or causes harm to an unborn fetus. The vaccine does not contain a live virus.
The Covid vaccine is safe for pregnant people. Once you become pregnant, you should continue your practice of preventing exposure to Covid 19, especially if you choose to remain unvaccinated.
Talk to The Experts
For more information on how a Covid 19 infection impacts your fertility treatment and pregnancy contact LA IVF. We offer the latest information as it becomes known and always follow the strictest guidelines. If you have concerns about your fertility or currently undergoing treatment and wish to discuss your options, reach out to our office.