Rabbi Melber, Founder, President, and Head Case Manager of Tahareinu, compiled a list of tips for couples undergoing fertility treatments, all in light of coronavirus. Here are nine tips for couples.
- Good news: Fertility treatments are back on track in most countries. There are places in Israel and the US that still only do some types of treatments, and only for the situations in more immediate need, such as older couples or those needing fertility preservation. There was hesitation to undergo fertility treatments, due to lack of knowledge about possibly ill effects of coronavirus on a growing fetus. However, this notion was deemed an irrational double-standard, since the general population was not advised to avoid getting pregnant.
- Follicle tracking. In some cases, doctors provide ovulation-inducing drugs but are not conducting ultrasound or blood tests to track ovulation throughout the cycle. There is a solution: In Israel, England, and the US, you might be able to order ultrasounds and blood tests from home. Tahareinu provides advice based on location and insurance.
- Lab supervision. Due to social distancing rules, many labs are not allowing more than one supervisor in at a time. This leads to a concern about mishandling of couples’ products of fertilization. One solution is remote supervision, which may require rabbinical involvement.
- Shuttered sperm labs. If sperm banks are closed, the solution is to perform tests at home, such as with the product YO. Home tests are advantageous because a) they cost less, b) avoid the need to come into a lab, c) many tznius issues are avoided and d) answers are clear and can be easily sent to your doctor via email or other digital means. NOTE: Home tests are meant for those undergoing simple treatments, for example couples at the early stages of treatments who need an initial test to get started. It may or may not apply to couples undergoing IVF – in Manhattan it is an option. Call Tahareinu for more information.
- Online consultations. Many doctors have started consulting via Zoom or over the phone, an advantage that will likely remain for at least another year if not longer term. Saves the commute!
- Fertility preservation. These procedures have resumed all over the world. This includes for couples who, unfortunately, have particular reproductive health issues or cancers.
- Work with an advocate. It was always important to involve someone professional to help manage your fertility treatments, just as one hires a wedding planner. Especially now with everything going on in hospitals handling coronavirus, be sure to have someone be your advocate for your process.
- Safety disclaimers. Fertility clinics in the US, Europe and Israeli require couples to sign that they are responsible for all outcomes – not the clinic. It should be emphasized that this is not based on any statistical evidence linking fertility treatments with higher-risk pregnancies. The requirement to sign is legal in nature, absolving the clinic of responsibility, but should not cause concern for the couple – go ahead and sign.
- Stalled medical tourism in Israel. Some couples returned to their home countries due to Corona, and have eggs or embryos frozen in Israel. For these couples, there are a few options:
- Wait for travel bans to be lifted. Once Israel reopens borders, couples can choose to come just for a few days to engage in treatments, or recover their products of fertilization for use in their home countries.
- Arrange for shipment. It is possible to ship the frozen products of fertilization internationally.Either of the above options involves a variety of factors – logistically, financially, and even halachically. Tahareinu always helps with medical tourism for fertility, and Corona times are no different. Contact us for help with any and all of the process.
By and large, fertility treatment processes have resumed after the initial Corona lockdowns took hold. Some clinics might still hesitate to reopen, however, it stands to reason that they, too will reopen within the next few weeks. Tahareinu’s mission of accompanying you on your fertility journey remains as strong as ever. Contact us – we welcome all opportunities to help bring simcha to families.