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Assisted Conception Unit and coronavirus: frequently asked questions

Information for patients

Frequently asked questions

Following our latest update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we have created a list of frequently asked questions below to reassure you in this difficult time.

Treatment has been temporarily suspended for patient safety as well as the need to ensure staff are available to care for those who need it most.

If your question has not been answered below and you still have concerns, please contact us by emailing ivf.nurses@gstt.nhs.uk or ivf.info@gstt.nhs.uk. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

  • What will happen to my position on the waiting list?

    Restarting treatment will be done in date order, those patients that were cancelled mid-cycle will be prioritised to start first. Following this our previous waiting list has been merged with these cancellations. Therefore you will still be in the same place but dates will be readjusted according to restart dates.

  • Are my frozen embryos / sperm samples safe?

    Whilst there is no routine fertility treatment ongoing at ACU we still have staff undertaking essential duties. This includes maintaining the storage tanks where frozen embryos/sperm are safely kept. There is also the added reassurance of a monitoring system that checks the storage tank temperatures continuously and calls the embryology team if they need intervention.

  • I have had blood tests recently. Will these need to be repeated?

    Depending on how long we remain closed, we may need to repeat some of your blood tests but we will not do this unnecessarily.

  • Will my pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) results be delayed?

    If you completed a treatment cycle and had embryos biopsied and tested you should receive your results within the expected time period. The embryology team will call you when the results have been reported by the genetics team. Please contact your PGD coordinator by email if you have any questions: ivf.pgd@gstt.nhs.uk.

  • Could having the COVID-19 affect my fertility?

    There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus will have an effect on fertility.

  • Is it safe to continue trying naturally for a pregnancy?

    According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on fertility and pregnancy. It is reasonable that women who have risk factors for severe illness if infected, for instance those with diabetes or underlying respiratory disease or immunosuppression, should be advised against conceiving during the outbreak.

  • If I am pregnant will COVID-19 increase my risk of miscarriage?

    According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), there is currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage, early pregnancy loss or congenital effects of the virus on fetal development. However, like in any viral infection premature delivery can occur.

  • I have paid for my treatment but it has been cancelled. Can I get my money back?

    You can request a refund or you can use the money to cover your future treatment fees when we are able to reopen. Please contact us at ivf.info@gstt.nhs.uk for more information.

  • What if I need to move my embryos / sperm to another clinic for treatment?

    All UK fertility clinics have stopped or are in the process of ceasing patient treatments with the possible exception of fertility preservation cases. We have stopped all routine treatments and implemented a policy to minimise any non-essential visitor movements in and out of the hospital. This includes patients or couriers intending to move samples such as embryos/sperm. The safety of your samples is extremely important to us. We cannot be assured that a clinic will be able to receive or dispatch samples and would therefore not release your samples at this uncertain time.

  • Can I start the process of moving my samples to / from another clinic?

    If you wish to proceed with the administrative aspect you should be aware that there will be a fee. However, there could be a considerable pause in all clinical activity in UK fertility clinics. We are unable to confirm when activity will resume and cannot give a date when we will be able to move your samples. We advise that in the current circumstances, the safest course of action is for you to wait until we resume activity. We will update you when we are able to resume activity.

  • What can I do about the anxiety in waiting for treatment?

    We fully appreciate that this is a really stressful and anxiety provoking time. Fertility issues can be very stressful at any time and with the current health issues it is particularly difficult. We have a counselling team who can offer space for you to talk about these anxieties. They can help you with strategies and signpost you to other areas of expertise. It is really important to talk to others about how you are feeling. You can reach out to family friends. You can also contact your GP and they may also be able to direct you to help in your area. You could contact our counselling service and request an appointment by calling 020 7188 7641 and leaving a message.

    There is also a list of helpful websites below.

  • I have more questions and concerns, what can I do?

    If you have a question that has not been answered here you can contact the team by emailing ivf.nurses@gstt.nhs.uk.