Attending Clinic During COVID-19
If you would like to speak to one of the team, feel free to contact us on 0818 333 310 / [email protected]
COVID-19 UPDATE – April 2023
COVID-19 remains a threat to pregnant women. We continue to recommend that all patients are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, preferably prior to pregnancy.
- Mask-wearing is no longer mandatory but recommended for patients at higher risk.
- Patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 should not attend the Clinic and should carry out a COVID-19 test as soon as possible.
- Patients testing positive for COVID-19 should not attend the Clinic for seven days after the first day of symptoms.
Precautions have relaxed because the incidence and severity of COVID-19 have become much lower. However, if a new surge occurs and/or more pathological variants emerge, precautions will need to be tightened.
Both the incidence and the severity of COVID-19 have dropped hugely, almost certainly as a result of vaccination. Precautions to reduce the chance of disease transmission (mask wearing and social distancing) are therefore being relaxed or discontinued, even in healthcare settings. However, COVID-19 remains a risk for pregnant patients (as explained below) and it is strongly recommended that women who are hoping to conceive are vaccinated. Once pregnant, patients should be more careful than the general population about avoiding infection.
CORONAVIRUS INFECTION: SYMPTOMS, TRANSMISSION, PROTECTION
This infection remains a threat to pregnant patients. It is highly contagious, particularly because infected persons can transmit the virus before they develop symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, tiredness, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. Coronavirus spreads through droplets from infected persons as they breathe but especially when they cough, sneeze, shout, laugh, or sing. Inhalation of infected droplets is the most important route of infection, touching infected surfaces (on which infected droplets have landed) is a far less likely route of infection. Small, poorly ventilated spaces, particularly cars and crowded public transport, are dangerous places. Vaccination has proved highly successful in preventing transmission of the virus and in preventing hospitalisation and death in those vaccinated. Vaccination is not completely protective and may be less protective against new variants. For these reasons, social distancing and mask-wearing continue to be important in preventing an infected person from passing the virus to others.
Waterstone Clinic has a duty to point out the potential risks of coronavirus infection in pregnancy. Patients and staff must comply with protective measures.
THE RISKS OF COVID-19 IN PREGNANCY
Pregnant women with COVID-19 infection appear twice as likely to be admitted to intensive care units and to require ventilation, compared to their non-pregnant peers. The likelihood of death for pregnant women with COVID-19 also appears greater. The absolute risk of death for pregnant women with COVID-19 in the Western world appears to be about 1 in 1,000: this is a small risk, but a new risk for pregnant women that did not exist previously.
With regard to risk for the fetus in pregnancies affected by COVID-19: there does not appear to be an increased risk of early miscarriage or of birth abnormalities, nor is there any convincing evidence of vertical transmission (i.e. from mother to fetus). There is certainly an increased risk of premature delivery (3 times higher than in the general pregnant population) either because of premature rupture of the membranes or because of concerns about maternal wellbeing. Extremely premature delivery can result in death or disability for the baby. There is an increased risk of stillbirth in pregnancies complicated by COVID-19.
GUIDELINES ON VACCINATION AND PREGNANCY
All professional medical bodies concerned with fertility and pregnancy care are now agreed that women who are trying to conceive, who are pregnant or who are breastfeeding should be vaccinated. The Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines are recommended rather than the Astra-Zeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
WATERSTONE CLINIC GUIDELINES ON VACCINATION AND BEGINNING FERTILITY TREATMENT
Waterstone Clinic recommends that patients hoping to become pregnant avail of vaccination if offered it. We recommend that patients complete vaccination before undergoing any fertility treatment. Ten days should elapse between the second vaccine dose and the day that FSH injections (or Clomid or Letrozole tablets) begin in IVF, IUI, or OII cycles. In FET cycles, 10 days should elapse between the second vaccine dose and the day that estrogen treatment begins (or Day 2 in natural or FSH stimulated FET cycles).
Similarly, for men, at least 10 days should elapse between the second vaccine dose and the production of a semen sample for treatment purposes.
MINIMISING COVID-19 RISK DURING TREATMENT AT THE CLINIC
Waterstone Clinic has relaxed precautions to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus at Clinic visits. Mask-wearing is now optional rather than mandatory. Patients at increased risk of complications should they become infected should continue to wear masks. Patients testing positive for the virus should not attend the Clinic and should self-isolate for seven days from the date of developing symptoms. Patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 should not attend the Clinic and should carry out a test as soon as possible.
MINIMISING COVID-19 RISK IN PREGNANCY
Patients who become pregnant at Waterstone Clinic must understand the potential risks of COVID-19 and do all that they can to minimise the possibility of picking up the infection. Infection in late pregnancy (after 26 weeks) appears most dangerous, and we would advise patients to be very cautious at this time. Any individual (who is not a household member) represents a potential danger to a pregnant woman if they are within a two-meter range and masks are not being worn by both parties.
Pregnant women can now reduce their work-related risk by availing of the vaccination being offered by the HSE. Women whose work exposes them to the public should check with the HR or Occupational Health Department of their employer to discuss decisions and ways around risk reduction in pregnancy.
NEW PRECAUTIONS IN THE EVENT OF SURGE/NEW VARIANTS
Obviously, if a new surge of COVID-19 occurs and/or more dangerous variants develop, the precautions taken at Waterstone Clinic will change accordingly.
|Ireland’s First MicroTESE birth||Jan-17|
|Ireland’s First PGT-M Birth||Jun-14|
|First clinical PGT-M Pregnancy||Nov-13|
|PGD first introduced||Oct-12|
|Vitrification freezing technique introduced||Apr-12|
|Embryo donation introduced||Oct-11|
|Birth of first babies (twins) from an egg donation pregnancy||Nov-06|
|Birth of first baby after ICSI with surgically obtained sperm||Apr-04|
|Birth of first baby after Frozen Embryo Transfer||Nov-03|
|Birth of first IVF twins||Jun-03|
|Birth of first IVF baby||May-03|
|Birth of first ICSI baby||Mar-03|
|First egg collection||Jul-02|