Infertility Treatments Remained Strong With Good Outcomes In Spite Of Covid-19, According To Three Studies Presented At The ASRM 2021 Scientific Sessions

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE’S  2021 SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS  

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of healthcare and caused a great deal of psychological stress among patients and temporary barriers to traditional care, leading to questions about the impact of the pandemic on fertility and assisted reproductive treatments. However, the results of three studies presented at ASRM’S 2021 Scientific Sessions show that with proper precautions, outcomes before and during the pandemic remained very similar in several aspects of infertility care – including egg retrieval and IVF cycles.

IVF Outcomes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a study of IVF cycles among patients at the NYU Fertility Center, researchers compared monthly treatment outcomes among patients from January-December 2020 to those in the corresponding months in 2019, before the pandemic had begun. All of the patients during 2020 had tested negative for the coronavirus.

A total of 2,467 patients were treated during both years and the researchers report that the number of cycles was very similar— 1,239 in 2019 and 1,228 in 2020, as were patient ages and the number of egg retrievals and other parameters studied during both years.

The researchers conclude that “there were no consistent quantitative or qualitative differences in outcomes among COVID-negative patients receiving care during the pandemic” and, therefore, patients and their providers can be reassured that IVF cycles can be continued safely during a pandemic without compromising outcomes.

O-141, I. Chamani, et al, IVF/OOF OUTCOMES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Frozen Embryo Transfer Outcomes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This study specifically compared the outcomes of frozen embryo transfers conducted each month from January to September 2020 to the corresponding months before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 to determine the impact of the pandemic.

Patients in the study were those treated at the NYU Fertility Clinic. During the study period in 2020, there were 486 frozen egg transfers compared to 558 in 2019. The researchers looked at the pregnancy success rates and concluded that there were no differences in treatment outcomes in the patient populations treated during 2019 compared to 2020.

P-445, I. Chamani, et al, FET OUTCOMES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Assisted Reproductive Technology Procedures in the US Prior to and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This study evaluated claims data on assisted reproductive therapy procedures (ART) from Symphony Health, a database that includes the information of more than 280 million U.S. patients.

The researchers compared the number of egg retrievals and IVF cycles from May-February 2019 to May-February 2020 (during the pandemic). Altogether, there were 39,087 egg retrievals and 14,365 IVF cycles.

The authors report that there was a substantial drop in March-April 2020, but ART procedures quickly recovered to the pre-pandemic baseline by June 2020. They conclude that “despite concerns regarding suspension of ART and delivery of infertility care during the pandemic, our study shows no significant difference in oocyte (egg) retrievals and IVF cycles prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As a result, the authors say that despite the health crisis, their findings showed no significant delay or interruption of fertility care and ART procedures in the U.S. They call for further research to examine how social determinants of health such as ethnicity, income and geographic location affected access to and use of infertility care during the pandemic.
 
P-459, J. Chae-Kim, et al, ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY PROCEDURES IN THE US PRIOR TO AND DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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For almost a century, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has been the global leader in multidisciplinary reproductive medicine research, ethical practice, and education. ASRM impacts reproductive care and science worldwide by creating funding opportunities for advancing reproduction research and discovery, by providing evidence-based education and public health information, and by advocating for reproductive health care professionals and the patients they serve. With members in more than 100 countries, the Society is headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional operations in Birmingham, AL. www.asrm.org

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