Southwest Fertility Center COVID-19 Health Alert

Last updated 5/1/20

General Overview:

Here at SWFC we take the health of our patients and caregivers very seriously and continue to actively monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. This situation is changing continuously and therefore our policies and recommendation may change as new developments come to light. We know you have questions and concerns about the virus and its impact not only on your welfare, but also your fertility journey. COVID-19: Managing fertility patient and those currently pregnant or desiring pregnancy Currently, little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. We are early in the course of the disease and therefore our knowledge and recommendations may change with time. At this point there does not seem to be negative effects of COVID-19 on male and female fertility as well as on fetal development in pregnancy. COVID-19 is unrelated to the ZIKA virus, as such reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 have delivered healthy babies free of disease. To date there are no reported cases of vertical transmission i.e. a pregnant mother infect with COVID-19 has not passed it to the fetus in utero. In addition, there does not seem to be an increased disease severity in pregnant women with COVID-19 as the rates of respiratory distress are similar to non-pregnant adults.  Still COVID-19 infection in pregnancy may pose some risk similar to viruses like influenza as pneumonia/systemic infections increase the risk of preterm delivery, miscarriages and still birth. Ultimately the data regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy is reassuring but should still be interpreted with caution given the small numbers.

 

The most recent guidelines from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, issued in the end of April, states that fertility centers may safely resume/initiate treatment cycles. This was a change from the recommended treatment suspension that was announced on March 17th, 2020.  The primary reasons for reinitiating treatment are due to more control of virus spread and that significant delays may compromise the prognosis of certain patients. In preparation of restarting treatment, we are confident that we can provide optimal patient care in a manner that limits risks to patients, staff, physicians and other healthcare providers.

 

We will continue to follow this development closely to ensure the health of our staff, community, and patients without compromising their prognosis.

 

  1. What is SWFC doing to keep patients safe?

 

SWFC has implemented a coronavirus protocol to keep our patients and staff safe and healthy while continuing their fertility treatment. We have instituted the following policies to ensure the health and safety of our patients without compromising their prognosis or care. Some of these changes may pose a minor inconvenience, but please remember it is for the greater good.

  • 1. Screening of patients for COVID-19 at time of appointment, confirmation of appointment and when they enter the office at the time of their visit.
  • 2. Temperature screen at the time of checking into the office.
  • 3.  Minimize use of the waiting room with patients waiting in their vehicles until the healthcare team is ready for them to be seen.
  • 4. Continued use of telehealth appointments for all new patient consultations and/or consultations that do not require in office monitoring.
  • 5. All patients must wear their own mask or some cloth to cover their nose and mouth in order to be seen.
  • 6. All patients are asked to have only essential people being evaluated come into the office. Spouses (if not needing testing) and other accompanying family members/friends should not enter the office.
  • 7. Hand-Washing Policy – All patients must wash their hands before and after checking in.
  • 8. Non-Contact Greeting – All patients are encouraged to choose alternate ways to greet and engage SWFC staff members. Our staff is leading by example.
  • 9. Increased cleaning/sterilizing frequency of our waiting room and patient exam rooms after every examination.
  • 10.  COVID-19 testing for all patients prior to undergoing anesthesia for surgery or IVF egg retrieval as this is in accordance with other hospitals/surgery centers that are performing elective/non emergent surgeries.
  1. I have a regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor. Should I come?

If you have a scheduled appointment and are having fever, cough and/or symptoms of a respiratory infection, we ask that you don’t come to the office and reschedule your appointment. This is to ensure the safety of not only yourself, but also our staff and other patients. As per the CDC Level 3 Health Advisory: If you or any of your immediate family members have traveled outside of Arizona, please contact SWFC and we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.

  1. What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1950s and generally cause a mild upper respiratory illness characterized by cough, fever, and/or body aches. This is very similar to most viral illnesses including flu and the common cold and therefore difficult to distinguish. The current situation involves a new, or “novel,” coronavirus and the illness it causes is called COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

  1. What are the symptoms caused by COVID-19?

The most common symptoms are fever, signs of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), loss of smell and taste, and body aches. If exposed to COVID, you are likely to see symptoms in about 2-9 days, median of 5 days. Note because these symptoms are very non-specific, it can present very similar to other illnesses like influenza or the common cold. In addition, many people may be infected and exhibit no symptoms at all.  As testing is limited, we ask that patients experiencing these symptoms speak to the provider/staff prior to coming for their appointment as they will need to reschedule. Most people who get coronavirus only experience mild viral symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and will experience a complete recovery. However, 15% of cases, especially older/immunosuppressed individuals, may get severely ill requiring hospitalization. Although less common, there have been reports of healthy young individuals getting severe illness.

  1. What should I do to avoid infection?

Please stay aware and take proper precautions. Follow restrictions stated by the CDC, health department and your employer. It is believed the coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets such as from a cough or sneeze, so you should be using the same prevention methods as you would to avoid a cold or the flu. As well social distancing and minimizing exposure to large crowds of people is currently recommend on a national and state level. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and large crowds/gatherings. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Stay home from school or work when you are sick. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  1. Can the coronavirus be treated?

Since it is a virus, the coronavirus cannot be treated with antibiotics. Mild infections are treated in the same way as the common cold or flu with medications to relieve the symptoms of cough, congestion, and fever. As it is a new virus no vaccine or specific antiviral therapy exists at this time.

  1. What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms?

If you are in respiratory distress, call 911. If you have mild symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of respiratory infection please follow CDC guidelines for at-home care, contact your primary care provider and/or the Arizona health department. Self-care in isolation is the best recourse for containing the virus.

Where can I get more information?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: • Website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

What Makes Us Unique?

  • LGBTQ Friendly Office
  • Fertility Preservation
  • Helping Families For 4 Decades
  • We Accept Most Insurances
  • In-House Creative Financing
  • Arizona’s Longest-Established Fertility Center
  • Low cost, low tech infertility treatment
  • Distinguished for Achieving High Pregnancy Rates
  • Over 200 Years Combined Infertility Experience
  • Multilingual Staff - English, Spanish, Polish, Telugu and Hindi
  • Generations Helping Generations