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How Does the Novel Coronavirus Affect Surrogacy?

2020-03-21
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As you are aware, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus. While we cannot provide any medical advice, ConceiveAbilities is dedicated to staying up to date on the impact of this situation and anticipating the important questions and concerns you may have.

Will COVID-19 have an impact on the scheduled embryo transfer and/or egg retrieval?

At ConceiveAbilities, we are working to maintain up-to-date information with the clinics where your planned embryo transfer and/or egg retrieval is due to take place. The treating physician and IVF center are on point to assess the safety and health of the steps ahead. Decisions about medical care can only be made in connection with the attending physician and we encourage all parties to stay in close communication.

Should travel plans for embryo transfer or egg retrieval be changed or reconsidered?

This should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to risk factors and input from your IVF center. We ask all of our Intended Parents, Surrogates and Egg Donors to stay in touch with their treating IVF center for their latest updates and advice. Of note, updates may be provided to the patient first, before the agency. This is an important fact to understand, particularly during a time of increased time constraint for many medical professionals.

If embryo transfer or retrieval is postponed, what does this mean?

Please do not worry if this happens. ConceiveAbilities is committed to all of our matches and families and will support each through any period of delay. Any transfer or retrieval that is delayed due to medical advice or increased risk will be managed by our agency when the IVF center resumes a treatment schedule. The good news is that delays can be a normal part of treatment calendars and we are well-versed in the management of postponed cycles should additional time be necessary.

Why is my ability to access my clinic disrupted?

We want to share some information that may prove helpful. While it is not meant to provide medical guidance or drive healthcare decisions, we hope to help you better understand why the ability to continue your journey to build a family has potentially become delayed.

  • The spread of COVID-19 is still not completely understood.
  • We expect to continue to see an increase in cases as more testing comes online. In a way, this is a good thing as it’s allowing the exposure that already exists to become known, quantified and better managed by the state and local health professionals.
  • The risk to any one of us, as an individual, even those that are older or have compromised immunity or travel on an airplane, is low.
  • However, the exact opposite is true for local populations: because of the rapid increase in cases which can exceed the capacity of any given community’s health system to treat not just COVID-19, but many other illnesses.
  • The primary public health strategy to lower this risk is to attempt to “flatten the curve” of how quickly this virus spreads. By doing so, the risk to any local population is reduced, for two reasons. One, there is greater capacity for health systems in that locale to attend to those individuals with this disease. Two, it buys time for the possibility of other treatments to come available and for the spread of the disease to wane.
  • Hopefully you now have a better understanding for why we are all seeing such aggressive “protective measures” to continue to cancel, delay, and limit large gatherings of people.

How will COVID-19 impact a pregnancy?

The facts here are, no doubt, uncertain and based on extremely limited samples and studies. Of course, it's optimal for any pregnancy that the mother is healthy throughout the entire pregnancy. Based on all currently available data about COVID-19, however, the risk that a pregnant woman can pass a COVID-19 infection to an unborn baby appears to be quite low. Further, the risk of a severe COVID-19 infection is clearly and repeatedly connected with factors that are unlikely to apply to a gestational carrier, specifically age, the presence of other health conditions, gender, and a history of smoking or vaping.

Of note,

  • The majority of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 are more than 45 years old
  • Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, chronic lung disease, cancer, and chronic kidney disease have each been associated with risk of a more severe infection. In a subset of 355 patients who died with COVID-19 in Italy, the mean number of other health conditions was 2.7, and only 3 patients had no underlying condition. The gestational carriers that work with ConceiveAbilities must be able to successfully demonstrate that these health issues do not apply to them.
  • Men have a disproportionately high number of deaths from COVID-19.
  • Smoking and vaping are both additional risk factors and these factors would also disqualify a potential gestational carrier.

Looking forward

While it is breathtakingly simple, the most important steps we can all take are to (a) wash our hands, thoroughly, and (b) not touch our eyes, noses, or mouths. This advice is based on the continued consistent understanding that the main mode of transmission of this virus is through the passing of a respiratory droplet from one person to another. If you find that wearing a cloth mask, scarf, bandana, glasses or gloves helps you not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, then by all means you should wear a cloth mask, scarf, bandana, glasses, or gloves.

This situation is new ground for all of us and continues to evolve.. We are committed to you and your journey and will do everything we can for the surrogates, egg donors and intended parents that make up the ConceiveAbilities family.

We believe that family is everything and we are with you every step of the way as you build yours. Please contact us with any questions that you may have.

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