Fertility treatments on pause during COVID-19 crisis

What's typically a silent struggle is being brought to the forefront through National Infertility Awareness Week. This year it's being done virtually.

Janey Mulligan and her husband Ryan are a year and a half into their fertility journey. Janey says, "I'm still inspired that we're able to have these conversations... I'm closer to menopause than I should be which makes my fertility picture challenging."

Their first cycle of IVF treatments was late February; two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic started impacting practices.

Mulligan says, "Unfortunately my body didn't respond well, since I didn't have many eggs left. So we ended up getting canceled."

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has now issued guidelines postponing new treatment starts; meaning even though time is of the essence, Janey and Ryan have to wait to try a second round of IVF.

Dr. Carolina Sueldo of Women's Specialty and Fertility Center in Clovis says more than 95% of practices nationwide are complying with those recommendations.

"Infertility is a disease, so they made a very careful choice of words in terms of non-urgent versus elective," said Dr. Sueldo.

The practice is following guidelines, not only for the safety of patients, but the unknowns surrounding COVID-19.

She adds, "We are all hurting for our patients and we are all itching to get back to treatment as quickly as possible."

Patients already in cycle were given the option to finish their IVF, Clomid and IUI treatments.

Dr. Sueldo says, "We are going to get back to treatment, it's just a matter of what that's going to look like and when is that going to happen."

The practice is getting updates every two weeks surrounding when they can start new treatments. In the meantime they've been using tele-medicine for patient consults. They say they are eager to begin new fertility treatments as soon as possible.

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