Beware: Coronavirus robbing women of their chance to become mothers

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LONDON: In wake of human loses being inflicted due to deadly coronavirus, it is advised to pregnant women that fertility clinics across the UK are now officially closed for treatments. This was of course put in place as a result of the lockdown measures that require all of us to play our part by staying at home and preventing the spread of Covid-19. On this, I stand in full solidarity with the Government and echo the call to ensure that we are testing and protecting our NHS staff and all care workers as they work to fight coronavirus.

Geeta Nargund has written this advice for Huffpost. She  is medical director of Create fertility and lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital NHS Trust, London.

She says; however, for the thousands of women and couples facing an indefinite suspension on treatment that may have taken them months or even years to arrive at, the trauma and distress caused simply cannot be underestimated. While I understand the current suspension,we must prioritise the re-opening of IVF clinics and provide a clear exit strategy detailing when and how this is going to happen.

It is also mentioned that there are a number of reasons for this. There is no evidence that pregnant women are more susceptible to infection from coronavirus and should take different precautions to the rest of the population, and there is currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to Covid-19. Most importantly, for women with a low egg reserve, time really is of the essence, and an indefinite delay could ultimately deny many of them the chance to have a biological child.  

Much has been written on the effects of the lockdown on mental health, but this will be multiplied hugely for all women denied access to fertility treatment. At my clinics we have fielded countless calls from those devastated by an indefinite delay, many with depressive and even suicidal thoughts, whom we have had to refer to mental health departments and counsellors for urgent help. Fertility treatment is a process that can take months or years to reach, and so this wait is adding to an already stressful and overwhelming journey.