Covid-19 and fertility treatment.
What does this mean for you?
This guest post was written by Kate Davies, Fertility Nurse Consultant and IVF coach.
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives beyond all recognition. Not one person in the worldwide has not had their lives touched in some way by COVID-19. And right now in our 'new normal, it is difficult to imagine when we will be back to 'normal' and indeed what 'normal' will then look like.
If you were due to start fertility treatments, you will by now be aware that your treatments, for the time being, have been cancelled. The British Fertility Society (BFS), American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association (HFEA) have all stated that, in view of the unknown effects of Covid-19 on embryos and pregnancy, and in the midst of a public health emergency, no new fertility treatment cycles should be started. Stopping fertility treatments will enable redeployment of staff and importantly reduce any unnecessary burden on the NHS during this difficult time.
I know that, whilst you fully understand why this had to happen, that many of you are experiencing great distress and that you feel lost and abandoned. You are not alone in feeling this. If you are worried about your age, then you may be concerned that time is running out for you and feel anxious that you might not get another chance. You may have been waiting for fertility treatments for some time and now feel that Coronavirus is threatening all you have been working towards.
No one yet knows when fertility treatments can start again, but one thing that is for sure is that this time waiting doesn’t have to be wasted. At the time of writing, there are no guidance recommending that couples should avoid trying to conceive naturally (however I am keeping a close eye on this ever-changing situation and will update this article as necessary). If you are trying to conceive naturally or you will be going back to fertility treatments in the future, then you can use this time productively to get ‘pregnancy ready’.
The Get Pregnancy Ready Plan
Start making conscious lifestyle changes. Stop smoking, reduce alcohol and caffeine content as much as possible. Staying in is the new going out so a really good reason to start working on reducing alcohol and smoking.
Remove your toxic load. Consider where in your home and work life you may be exposed to toxins. Change your household and beauty products to paraben (and other nasty chemicals) free. Avoid plastic containers and bottles and use glass instead.
Give consideration to your diet and nutrition. Start taking folic acid and Vitamin D daily and add in any extra supplements if needed.
Drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
Make sure you are having sex every 2-3 days throughout the cycle.
Get at least 8 hours sleep per day and consider whether you are dealing with stress effectively.
Make the most of your allotted 1 trip outside to exercise, breathe and take in the beauty of spring budding all around us.
If you or your partner are overweight, use this time to reduce this a little. Take advantage of all the free online exercise classes. There have never been so many!
Get to know your body. Start charting your cycles and observing the natural fertility indicators mother nature has given you – your cervical mucus and temperature. Work out when you are ovulating so you can make the most of the fertile time.
If you are feeling lost in all of this and struggling to find support, please feel free to reach out to me. Remember you are not alone and there is plenty of help and support out there to get you through this difficult and anxious time.
For more information on the current UK COVID-19 and fertility treatment guidance please see:
Current guidance elsewhere in the world:
Kate Davies (RN, BSc (Hons), FP Cert) is a fertility nurse consultant and IVF coach. She is the founder of ‘Your Fertility Journey’, a clinic offering high quality advice and support for women and couples who were struggling to conceive. Kate and her team of expert nurses work with patients to optimise their ability to conceive naturally and coach women navigating fertility treatments.
Prior to setting up in private practice, Kate’s worked for over 20 years as a NHS specialist nurse and an NHS manager in Gynaecology, Sexual and contraceptive health and fertility.
As well as all things fertility, Kate has a special interest in PCOS and has helped 100’s of women take back control of their PCOS and improve their fertility.
Kate has a passion for podcasting and uses this platform to break the silence surrounding infertility and IVF and is co-host of the super popular Fertility Podcast.
The Fertility Podcast: https://www.thefertilitypodcast.com