Notice for patients who are undergoing infertility therapy or desiring pregnancy
As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads around the world, our professional organizations, policymakers, and the general public are seeking advice on how to manage patients who are undergoing or who are planning to undergo infertility treatment.
Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease.1,2 This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers. Other forms of coronavirus 3,4 have been linked to increased adverse outcomes during pregnancy, but data specific to COVID-19 is not yet available.
It should be emphasized, however, that coronaviruses are unrelated to the Zika virus, which had very clear implications for pregnancy and fetal development. Given the information we do have, while it would be wise for individuals with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection to avoid pregnancy, there appears to be no cause for alarm for those already pregnant.
Patients with high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, should strive to avoid a pregnancy. Patients who test positive for COVID-19 and are undergoing active infertility treatment should consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer until they are disease-free.
Please note the above recommendation does not apply when there solely is a suspicion of COVID-19, because symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other more common forms of respiratory illnesses.
Be assured that our facility follows the recommendations from our state and local health departments and we stay up to date with the latest guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) regarding evolving developments concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional information can be obtained at:
- Lei D WC, Li C, Fang C, Yang W, Cheng B, Wei M, Xu X, Yang H, Wang S, Fan C. Clinical characteristics of pregnancy with the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. Chinese Journal Perinatal Medicine 2020;23(3).
- Chen H GJ, Wang C, Luo F, Yu X, Zhang W, Li J, Zhao D, Xu D, Gong Q, Liao J, Yang H, Hou W, Zhang Y. Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records. Lancet 2020;395(10226):809-15.
- Alfaraj SH, Al-Tawfiq JA, Memish ZA. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERSCoV) infection during pregnancy: Report of two cases & review of the literature. J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2019 Jun;52(3):501-3.
- Wong SF, Chow KM, Leung TN, Ng WF, Ng TK, Shek CC, et al. Pregnancy and perinatal outcomes of women with severe acute respiratory syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004 Jul;191(1):292-7.