COVID patient information / local and national lockdown updates

How are things different?

CRGW’s clinics are changing the way they operate for the coming months to manage the risk of coronavirus transmission. This is to protect patients and staff.

We are minimising physical contact between patients and staff. So instead of meeting face-to-face, consultations with doctors, nurses, embryologists, counsellors and other staff will be via telephone or video conferencing wherever possible.

There will be fewer visits to the clinic and fewer people in the clinic (including in the waiting room) when patients attend. Appointments will be staggered so social distancing can be maintained.

To minimise the number of people in the clinic, some appointments won’t allow partners or other people to accompany patients to appointments.

If patients do need to attend the clinic, they will be asked about possible coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat etc), whether they’ve had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (all by questionnaire completed electronically via the website and also have their temperature checked.

Face coverings will be required though full PPE is not required for patients who are not suspected of having COVID-19.

Is it safe to have IVF now?

People might worry about the risks of COVID-19 and whether it’s safe to embark on pregnancy right now.

Because COVID-19 has only been around for a relatively short time, it’s hard to know how it might affect people’s fertility, and the health of pregnant women and their babies.

However, based on the latest evidence:

  • fever associated with COVID-19 can affect sperm quality for about three months, so may temporarily reduce fertility
  • pregnant women are not more likely to get infected by the coronavirus than other women, nor are they at higher risk for severe illness
  • women who become seriously ill with COVID-19 in late pregnancy are more likely than other pregnant women to deliver their babies prematurely
  • after birth, transmission of COVID-19 from mother to child has been reported, but there has been no indication these infants have any significant problems.
  • Studies show that COVID-19 is not found in the semen of men who have had the virus
  • Studies show that COVID-19 is not found in the follicular fluid (fluid that surrounds eggs at egg collection)of women who have had the virus

What changes will we see at CRGW?

Patients will need to complete follow the traffic lights on the homepage of our website (you will have pressed red to read this):

Red: Patient information / updates on COVID-19 and changes in the clinic
Yellow: First appointment questionnaire to be completed before your first visit to / back to CRGW following lockdown within 24 hours of attending the clinic 
Green: A repeat visit (shorter) questionnaire to be completed prior to every visit to the clinic for the foreseeable future within 24 hours of attending the clinic 

All patients must submit the first appointment questionnaire before returning to the clinic post lockdown.
All patients must submit the repeat appointment questionnaire before returning to the clinic for any subsequent visit.

Patients must press the upper buzzer at the clinic entrance to enter (the door will be locked) and a staff member will come to you and check you check well and take your temperature. If all is well you can come into the clinic wearing a face covering which you must bring yourself. You will be given alcohol hand rub at which point you can proceed upstairs to reception to check in where alcohol gel will again be provided.

Your face covering must be kept on at all times when in the clinic.

The format of appointments has changed at CRGW allowing longer time between patients to allow us to clean rooms. This means for the foreseeable future there will be less appointment flexibility. All scans will be carried out in the mornings with virtual treatment planning appointments in the afternoons.

Women must attend alone for scans and treatments. Men can drop of samples produced from home (if for semen analysis and not for treatment) and if for treatment can come into clinic to provide the sample after which they must wait outside / pick their partner up later.

CRGW ask patients to try to self isolate at the start of treatments as if you develop symptoms or anyone around them tests positive / suffers from or dies from COVID-19 they can only continue with a negative swab, and will have to cover costs of medication and a cancellation fee.

My county is in local lockdown can I still attend the clinic?

Yes. You will follow the system outlined above in regards to face coverings, questionnaires etc.
If the appointment is non-urgent / non-essential your county would ask you to postpone it, but where you require medical treatment you can travel to wherever is necessary to receive that. You should not to stop at other locations along the way to or from the appointment.

If my local CRGW clinic is inside a county in local lockdown will you still remain open?

Yes. Staff at all of our clinics are considered key workers and as such the clinics will remain open during local lockdown and treatments will continue as normal. We are in constant contact with our regulator the HFEA in regards to any changes from a country wise perspective and will keep patients updated here should anything change nationally in regards to IVF clinics remaining open. Since the first lockdown we have implemented a lot of measures and strategies to make the clinics as safe as possible for patients and staff with regards to covid risks and as such all IVF clinics across the UK are well prepared to be able to continue treatments even as a second wave of covid looms.

What happens if I am stopped by police etc for leaving my locked down county to come to the clinic?

If this happens, the police should let you proceed once you explain the reason for your travel. If you encounter difficulties please telephone your clinic who would be happy to confirm to the police of your appointment.