Fertility treatments put on hold by COVID-19 slowly resume

Published: May. 19, 2020 at 2:29 PM EDT
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Fertility treatments are now slowly starting to resume for thousands of families forced to put their plans on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jessica Richter-Furman is already the proud mother of 4-year-old daughter Nova but dreams of having a second child. That dream was put on hold for nearly two months because of the pandemic after the family was advised to halt their IVF plans.

"If I had contracted the coronavirus while I was pregnant and then miscarried or if anything else happened, then the question would always be, did we blow our last chance?" Richter-Furman said.

But now, after months of delaying fertility treatments, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says procedures can gradually resume with safety precautions in place.

"Patients can wear cloth masks while physicians should be wearing surgical masks and if you're in the operating room and there's a procedure that's aerosolizing than the recommendation is still to wear an N95 mask," said Dr. Eve Feinberg, a member of the ASRM's COVID-19 task force.

The group also suggests spacing out appointments and utilizing telemedicine visits to limit the number of patients in the doctor's office. Experts are still debating whether fertility patients should be tested for coronavirus before procedures.

"There are no recommendations on exactly when and how to test, and we've left it up to the individual practices to decide based on the availability of testing in their region and the types of tests that are available," Feinberg said.

Richter-Furman is now looking to the future. She has an embryo transfer scheduled next month and hopes to finally be able to expand her family.