COPING WITH COVID-19: Update from St Jude’s
These are trying times for us all, a climate of uncertainty and concern. But please be reassured that the management and staff of St Jude’s are 100% committed to safety for all patients. We have direct access to information and guidance from governmental and professional bodies so we are well placed to offer advice to patients. Our sources of information include:
1) Department of Health, UK.
3) British Fertility Society (BFS)
4) Association of Reproductive & Clinical Scientists (ARCS)
5) Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG)
6) European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)
7) American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
You can see that we are well placed to provide good guidance for our patients.
We published our initial response to Corona virus outbreak a week ago via facebook. This is an update on our clinical and business continuity plans.
General information / advice applicable to everyone (Patients and Staff) include:
a) Meticulous hand hygiene, with frequent washing of hands with soap and water or hand sanitisers
b) Social distancing i.e, allowing a safe distance (1 metre) between yourself and others. Avoid social gatherings
c) Avoid handshakes
d) Avoid unnecessary travels
e) Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
f) Self-isolate if you have symptoms of persistent dry cough and/or high temperature, or been in contact with someone with these symptoms
g) Work from home if possible
h) Be aware that everyone is at risk but the elderly (over 70s) and those with underlying medical conditions are more vulnerable
St Jude Opening Hours:
There is no change. We are open as usual, Monday to Saturday. We operate our normal clinic appointments. We are open for consultations, scanning, treatment planning and investigative procedures, as usual. However, in line with the public health advice any patient or prospective patients with suspicious symptoms (or with exposure to a likely case) should not attend the clinic. Such patients should be self-isolating.
We offer consultations and reviews by video call (skype or whatsapp).
Our policy on continuing or cancelling treatment cycles:
Covid-19 virus infection is a new disease therefore we are still largely in the dark regarding the impact on fertility and pregnancy. The situation is developing at a fast pace therefore opinions and advice may remain changeable in the coming days. Therefore, we encourage patients who are seeking advice on how the crisis will impact their TTC plans to call the clinic to discuss any relevant issue with the consultant or fertility nurses. This is to ensure that patients are getting up to date information appropriate for their particular cases. Our opinions are covered in the Q&A’s below:
Q1. We have been trying to conceive naturally for about 6months. Should we stop trying and instead use contraception because of the risk of covid-19?
A1. At present we are not aware of any evidence to suggest that couples trying naturally for a pregnancy should not continue to do so. No one knows how long this crisis will last, therefore delaying TTC may not be in the best interest of couples especially for women where age is not their side. If you conceive it may be advisable to observe precautionary self-isolation. If you trying to conceive the common sense position is to observe all precautionary measures listed above.
Obviously if you or your partner have symptoms or have had exposure to someone with symptoms, it would be wise to wait until the crisis is resolved.
Q2. My Doctor prescribed fertility tablets (Clomid) to help me conceive. Should I take it?
A2. The question is what effects covid-19 infection might have on the course of a pregnancy, and on the mother and baby. At present, no one knows the answers to these questions. One concern is that pregnancy could cause increased vulnerability to covid-19. There are anecdotal reports of one or two cases that seem to suggest that covid-19 infection may cause premature birth. In truth, there is no strong evidence at present to direct any clinical advice. Against this background of uncertainty the best approach is to take a cautious stand.
If you are worried, have a chat with your fertility specialist. If you can put your TTC on hold, you should do so. In any case, be guided by the all general advice listed above. Consider social distancing or self-isolate if you might be pregnant or if you are in early pregnancy.
Q3. My husband and I need IVF/ ICSI treatment. When can we start treatment?
A3. We suggest you attend for consultation either in clinic or by video call. This is will give you a head start to discuss details regarding your treatment. You should also attend the treatment planning appointment to have the preliminary tests and go through treatment consent forms with the nurse specialist. Once you have had the necessary preparatory appointments you are then well positioned to start treatment when it is safe to do so.
Rest assured that we are here for you and will always act in your best interest.
—————————————————- Date: 20 March 2020
Mr J. Adeghe PhD, FRCOG
St Jude’s Women’s Hospital, Wolverhampton, Abuja & Benin-City.