Delayed fertility treatment and pregnancy advice
Advice if your fertility treatment has been delayed or you had planned to stop your treatment to start trying for a pregnancy
We know that many women have had their fertility treatment delayed and this is another source of considerable distress and anxiety. As with surgery, there is nothing that can be done to change that, however, it is worth bearing in mind current guidance about COVID-19 and pregnancy and think about how this time could be used to maintain or optimise your health for fertility treatment/a pregnancy in the future. Alternatively you may have been planning to stop your hormonal treatments around this time to start trying to conceive naturally, and are now unsure whether that should still be your plan.
The current advice is that now may not be the best time to stop contraception to plan a pregnancy. This is because:
- We have limited information about the risks of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their unborn babies.
- Clinical care during pregnancy and labour involves contact between healthcare professionals and women and therefore increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Medical resources are likely to be very overstretched in the coming weeks/months and therefore if complications relating to pregnancy occur (including miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy) it may be harder to access the care you need. Again, any such care would increase the risk of COVID-19.
- If you need your coil or implant removed before starting to try to get pregnant, it is unlikely that GPs or family planning/sexual health clinics will be able to provide this service during the pandemic.
It is recommended that both you and your partner use this time to optimise your health:
- Aim to stop/don’t start smoking, lose weight if you need to, moderate/reduce your alcohol intake. We acknowledge that all of these are likely to be much harder to do than they would normally be. However it is important that at the end of this pandemic you don’t realise that you are no longer suitable for fertility treatment (e,g. because you are overweight or a smoker) or reduce your chances of pregnancy occurring because of these factors.
- Make sure any other chronic medical problems continue to be well-managed including diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure. This is important both because some medical conditions increase the risk associated with COVID-19 and because of their impact on a future pregnancy.
- Continue to take/or start taking folic acid. The current advice is to take folic acid supplements for 3 months before pregnancy if possible. There is no harm in taking folic acid supplements for many months and therefore it is far better to continue with these than stop them and not have restarted in time.
Clearly if you do fall pregnant during this pandemic, everyone will do their best to offer you the care that you need. However, it would probably be sensible to let your GP know earlier than you might do normally.