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Author Topic: HFEA : Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for patients  (Read 2166 times)
Sr. Member
Posts: 299

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We (HFEA) understand that some patients are concerned about the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact it has on their fertility treatment. This page provides information about coronavirus and fertility treatment, as well as links to support services.
We understand that patients are concerned about the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact of fertility treatment provision across the country.
Our role as the regulator
As the regulator, we are responsible for setting standards and monitoring the performance of fertility clinics and making sure they comply with the law. It is not our role to provide patients or clinics with medical advice, however as the COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically impacted on the health service across the country and the way fertility clinics can offer treatment, we’ve taken steps to keep patients and clinic staff safe.
What we've told clinics
In line with guidance from the British Fertility Society (BFS) and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS), we’ve issued General Directions which now require all clinics to have a COVID-19 strategy in place and to wind down their treatment services over the next three weeks.
General Directions are issued when we need to change clinic practice in line with new policy or guidance. General Directions are mandatory, meaning that all clinics must follow them. If a clinic fails to do so, it would be a breach of a statutory licence condition, which may have serious implications on their license, including suspending or revoking a clinic’s license.
Our Direction addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation was implemented in line with the professional guidelines from the BFS and ARCS, as well as advice from the NHS that all non-urgent, elective surgery should stop by 15 April 2020 the latest.

Mar 20 2020

What fertility patients need to know about Covid-19 plans
British Fertility Society Chair, Dr Jane Stewart, explains how the fertility sector is responding to the current coronavirus pandemic. Dr Stewart has advice to patients and acknowledges that there will be significant disappointment as centres decide not to start new cycles of treatment

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and pregnancy
Version 4: Published Saturday 21 March 2020 - guidance for healthcare professionals on coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in pregnancy, published by the RCOG, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland.
The document above is for healthcare professionals. We have also prepared information for pregnant women and their families, drawn from this guidance:
Information for pregnant women and their families

Q&As relating to this guidance - updated 21 March 2020
Sign up here to receive the latest updates by email when the guidance is updated.
This guidance will be updated on a regular basis as new data becomes available.
If you would like to suggest additional areas for this guidance to cover, any clarifications required or to submit new evidence for consideration, please email

Sr. Member
Posts: 299

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mproving choices for fertility patients during a pandemic
27 April 2020 - by Sarah Norcross
So many fertility patients are experiencing the heartbreak of IVF cycles being cancelled, or treatment being halted partway through a cycle, during the global coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. For some older patients who may not get another chance, the enforced cessation of treatment is particularly devastating.
Everyone working in the fertility sector recognises that time is of the essence for patients experiencing infertility. It is good to see the UK fertility community working together, through bodies such as the British Fertility Society and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists, to ensure that processes are in place for a safe and smooth reopening of fertility clinics as soon as this is deemed possible.
As clinics begin to operate once more in countries including Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, the UK can learn from the experiences in these countries. The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are doing valuable work considering whether, when and how treatment might be resumed.
But resuming treatment is only part of the challenge. For people who fall afoul of age-related access criteria imposed by England's Clinical Commissioning Groups (CGCs), there has been no assurance that the clock has stopped ticking. Given the circumstances, the Progress Educational Trust (PET) – the charity that publishes BioNews – has been urging CCGs to effectively 'stop the clock' in relation to accessing NHS-funded fertility treatment, so that patients are not disadvantaged through no fault of their own.
PET understands that this is what will happen in Scotland, where fertility treatment is commissioned centrally. We hope CCGs will follow suit, and thereby help patients who already had to contend with an IVF postcode lottery before the current pandemic added to their difficulties.
We are delighted that our work has prompted the UK Government to stop the clock in one crucial respect – namely, by granting a two-year extension to the ten-year legal limit on storage of eggs, sperm and embryos, as reported elsewhere on BioNews this week. This extension is a pragmatic solution to the current situation, and will come as a huge relief to patients who have yet to use their frozen eggs, sperm or embryos to try for a baby.
However, there remains a broader problem to be resolved. The Government's announcement of an extension was influenced by – and underlines the importance of – PET's ongoing #ExtendTheLimit campaign, which calls for a substantial and permanent extension to the ten-year limit on the storage of eggs for non-medical (social) reasons.
This outdated and unscientific limit means that increasing numbers of women face a stark choice between seeing their frozen eggs destroyed, or becoming a mother before they are ready to do so. Please help PET change this situation by signing and sharing our #ExtendTheLimit petition at (if you can post a comment when you sign, then this is even better!).
PET also encourages everyone to respond online to the UK Government's current public consultation on this issue, before the consultation closes next week (on Tuesday 5 May).
The legal, social and medical issues surrounding egg, sperm and embryo freezing were explored at a PET event earlier this year, and PET has made this discussion more widely accessible in a series of online films. Another development reported on BioNews this week concerns special legal requirements for confidentiality and secrecy that apply to fertility treatment, and this too was explored at a recent PET event that is now available to watch online as a series of films.
Unfortunately holding face-to-face public events is not practical at the moment, which is why some of the PET events that were due to take place in coming weeks have had to be postponed or cancelled. But rest assured that we have plans to start holding some of our events online, and will have some exciting announcements to make about this in the near future.
In the meantime, we could not do any of the work discussed above without your support. We appreciate that times are tough and uncertain for many of you at the moment, but please donate what you can to our appeal.
If you are doing your shopping online, please try visiting Easyfundraising first. More than 4000 shops and websites will donate to us for free when you shop online with them using this service. Sign up to support us at
Meanwhile, if you are shopping on Amazon UK and you already have an account with them, the best way to support us is via Amazon Smile. In order to do this, go to and log in using your usual Amazon account (if you are not logged in automatically). Alternatively, use this link to access the Amazon website before you start shopping, and donate a percentage of what you spend to us (at no extra cost to you).
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