Our response to the recent ASRM guidelines
Texas Fertility Center is a proud member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Having said that, sometimes we disagree with ASRM recommendations. The ASRM response to COVID-19 is one of these times.
We believe that the recent ASRM statement recommending the cessation of fertility treatment unnecessarily discriminates against patients with infertility. If ASRM believes pregnancy is contraindicated in the face of this current pandemic, as it was with the recent Zika virus, they would have advised all couple of reproductive age to use contraception to prevent pregnancy.
We have been unable to find any data that suggests that patients who conceive as a result of fertility treatment are at any greater risk than the general population. Nor can we find any data to suggest that pregnancy increases a woman’s susceptibility to infection with COVID-19 or that this virus can be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her baby. In fact, a study of pregnant women infected with SARS (a previous corona virus) did not show any transmission of the virus to their babies. All babies delivered in this study were normal. The most recent Chinese study of 33 babies delivered to infected mothers showed that 30 babies were negative for the virus. The three who were positive weren’t tested until at least 48 hours after birth and had been with their mothers from birth until that time, suggesting that infection may well have occurred after delivery. This appears to be supported by another Chinese study in which all specimens obtained from cord blood, amniotic fluid, and placentas from infected mothers tested negative for the virus – casting further doubt on any possible mechanism of transmission of the virus to a baby before birth.
As a result, unless we are presented with conclusive data to the contrary, TFC is standing with our patients and will remain open in order to provide all fertility related services. We have developed a 4 phase contingency plan that we will activate as conditions dictate. We instituted phase 1 in early March and have regularly revised our policies designed to keep our patients, our staff and our families safe since then. In fact, we have already had an unexpected visit from the Austin Police Department’s Code Compliance Division, who found us to be in compliance.
Austin Fertility Surgery Center is also staying open to service TFC patients. This center is not part of a hospital system and does not use any equipment, supplies, or personnel that would otherwise be used by any hospital or emergency facility.
We believe in the strength and resilience of the American people and know that life will return to normal – hopefully soon. We also strongly believe that infertility treatment is not “elective” or “non-essential”. Couples struggling with infertility deserve the same access to care for their condition(s) during these trying times as everyone else. This is why TFC is remaining open – to provide comprehensive, state of the art fertility treatment to all couples who need us. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions and please continue to check our website for any updates.