Most patients resumed IVF treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic shut-down immediately when able

Washington, D.C.- Research presented at the 2020 Scientific Congress indicates that out of a total of 145 patients planning frozen embryo transfer (FET) and 133 patients planning a fresh cycle, 62% of all patients desired to initiate treatment once COVID-19 restrictions had been eased in May 2020. Among the fresh cycles, there was a trend towards older-age women being more prevalent among those who moved forward. FET cycles using a gestational carrier were more likely to continue delaying treatment.  

ASRM’s March 2020 COVID-19 guidelines included the suspension of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilization (IVF) including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent gamete cryopreservation; in addition, the guidelines recommended strongly considering the cancellation of all embryo transfers, whether fresh or frozen.  

In survey results on the emotional impact of these guidelines on fertility patients, 50% of a total of 518 respondents had a cycle canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who had a cycle canceled, 85% of respondents found it to be moderately to extremely upsetting with 22% rating it to be equivalent to the loss of a child. When asked about the decision-making, 36% of patients agreed all fertility cycles should be canceled, 22% were unsure, and 43% disagreed.  

“Over the past several months, significant knowledge has been gained regarding the COVID-19 virus and its impact on patients and the medical system. It has become clear that we will need to be practicing COVID-19 protocols at least until an effective and safe vaccine or broadly effective treatment becomes widely available. I’m proud to say that ASRM’s COVID-19 Task Force has been on the forefront supporting and building the capacity for the measured resumption of fertility care following the easing of restrictions.” Said Paul C. Lin, MD President of SART and a member of ASRM Covid-19 task force. 

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.

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National statistics from SART member clinics that reported their data through SART.