Information on the Covid-19 vaccine for people planning fertility treatment
21st January 2021
The Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS) and British Fertility Society (BFS) have released a statement regarding the COVID-19 vaccination for those planning fertility treatment. Please see their statement here: https://www.arcscientists.org/arcs-bfs-joint-guidelines-addendum/
You can also refer to the latest statement from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on this issue: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/RCOG-and-RCM-respond-to-misinformation-around-Covid-19-vaccine-and-fertility/
What is the Hewitt Fertility Centre advising?
In line with the ARCS/BFS guidelines above and JVCI guidance, if you have been offered the vaccination, you are able to receive it and continue with your planned fertility treatment. You do not need to delay your treatment until after your vaccination unless you wish to. If you have just completed treatment and are awaiting a pregnancy test, you should await the result of your test before receiving the vaccination.
Please be aware that if you wish to start your fertility treatment before you have been vaccinated and you then become pregnant, current Government guidelines recommend that vaccination in pregnancy should only be considered where the risk of exposure is high and cannot be avoided, or if you have underlying conditions that put you at very high risk of serious complications of COVID-19. In these circumstances, clinicians should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with you and tell you about the absence of safety data for the vaccine in pregnancy.
Although the available data do not indicate any harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.
If you wish to delay your treatment due to your vaccination we will support you and provide you with treatment options.
Whilst we invite you to speak to our experienced fertility nurses or medical staff if you have concerns or any questions on this issue, it is also important that you refer to the information that is available, to allow you to make an informed personal choice. Accepting or delaying a Covid-19 vaccine will need to be your own decision.
The Hewitt Fertility Centre is continuing to provide fertility treatment to current patients and those who wish to embark on new treatments. Please visit the HFEA website for the most up to date guidance on Coronavirus and fertility treatments, including links to support services.
If you are only just starting to consider fertility treatment and would like to know how the Hewitt Fertility Centre we can help you, then please contact us to arrange a clinic appointment with one of our fertility specialists – call 0151 702 4121 for our Liverpool Centre or 01565 653287 for our Knutsford Centre.
We know that the last few months have been really tough for everyone. Our priority continues to be the safety of our patients and staff, and we have many safety measures in place to ensure we minimise the risk to everyone. We have carefully re-opened gradually and can see our safety measures have worked as we expected them to, so we are happy to welcome more patients to our clinic. All clinic appointments do remain strictly via appointment only.
Our phone lines are extremely busy. We apologise if you do have to wait a short time for a call back, please be aware this could take up to 72 hours, but we have made additional staff available to deal with your enquiries as quickly as possible.
If you feel you could do with some additional support or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on the numbers below between 8:30am and 4:30pm and have a chat with us.
Nurses: 0151 702 4123
Counsellors: 0151 702 4075
Thank you again for your patience and understanding over these difficult few months.
Please note that when the Hewitt Fertility Centre contacts patients over the phone, this will appear as 'No Caller ID' on your device. Please bear this mind when answering calls to ensure that we are able to reach you at the earliest opportunity.
Updated 13 July 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my NHS funding period be extended if I am not going to complete my treatment(s) in time due to the delay caused by lockdown?
NHS funding will be assessed on an individual basis depending on the CCG for your area. For more information on funding and any other costing information please contact our finance department on 0151 702 4123 option 4.
I am approaching 40 years of age and concerned my funding will run out before I get treatment. Will I be considered as a priority?
Consideration will be made for patients on an individual basis in relation to age and fertility. If you are concerned that you need treatment quicker due to your age, please contact the Hewitt Centre and the specialist nursing team will be able to book you in for treatment and address your concerns.
I have a low AMH, will I be able to have my treatment quicker?
Staff at the Hewitt Centre understand your concerns in relation to reduced fertility potential. Consideration will be taken for patients with a low AMH. If you do have any concerns regarding this please contact the nursing staff at the Hewitt Centre for further information.
Will I be notified of when I can start treatment or should I just call every month?
In order to recommence treatments fairly we have been initially contacting patients who had treatment deferred due to the COVID-19 closure. Those with cancelled or postponed treatment will be treated as a priority as we feel they should not wait any longer for their treatment.
However, we would like all patients to call us with day 1 of your period each month to allow us to book you in for your treatment and give you a start date as it may be that we can fit you in earlier than you thought. Please give our nursing team a call on day 1 of your next period and get started on your fertility journey with us.
Can I have an elective freeze all and have my embryo transfer when the pandemic is over?
This is an option for patients wishing to preserve embryos but have concerns about pregnancy during this time. However, please understand that freezing all embryos can only be NHS funded for medical reasons and therefore there would be an additional cost for this. There would also be a cost implication for self-funded patients requesting all embryos to be frozen.
Although there is limited data on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy it does appear to have only a low impact on early pregnancy and low perinatal risk and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists do not suggest that people should prevent pregnancy at this time. Please discuss this further with our nursing team if you have any concerns.
Can I still have treatment if I work in high risk health care setting?
Although we are not refusing treatment for patients employed in high risk areas we would advise you to ask to be redeployed to a lower risk area if possible, to reduce cross infection. The unit have taken steps in order to assess staff before they come to work and patients before they come to the unit for any appointments. Before any appointments a member of staff from the unit will call you to go through a COVID-19 triage symptom checklist. Providing you and anyone in your household are asymptomatic then treatment will be able to proceed. We expect patients to continue to comply with guidance set out by government. This includes reporting symptoms, practicing social distancing, good hand hygiene and following recommendations on use of PPE. If there is potential risk of cross infection then your case may need to be discussed individually by the multi-disciplinary team.
What measures have the Hewitt Centre taken to ensure safety?
The safety of patients, staff, their families and the public are of utmost priority during this time. Although we strive to offer the highest quality of fertility treatment for our patients we must ensure we practice safely. Please be reassured that we are taking measures within the unit to ensure your safety. We are currently undertaking a COVID-19 triage containing questions related to symptoms before each appointment that you attend. Patients must attend the unit alone for appointments and wait in their vehicle before being contacted by staff to make their way to the unit. The hospital continues to practice social distancing of two meters wherever possible. Staff and patient temperatures are being checked on arrival and you will be provided with appropriate PPE to be worn throughout the hospital. More time has been given for each appointment to ensure they are spaced out to reduce the number of people on the unit at any one time. Phone consultations continue to be used when possible in order to reduce footfall through the clinic.
I would like to have acupuncture before my embryo transfer, is this service available?
Unfortunately the acupuncture service has not yet restarted due to government guidelines. Please continue to check our website for updates on when we are able to resume acupuncture services.
Will my partner still be able to attend appointments with me?
Whilst we appreciate that this is a very trying and emotional journey for our patients, especially during this time, unfortunately at present patients must attend appointments alone. We understand this is very difficult, especially for those appointments such as pregnancy scans and embryo transfers which can be very emotional. Please be reassured that our staff will give patients every bit of support they need during appointments. Please be reminded of our fertility counselling services if you feel you require access to this. Please contact the unit on 0151 702 4075 for counselling services.
There will be times where we request that your partner does accompany you to appointments, when they need to be here for investigations, blood samples and to produce a sperm sample if they are providing one on the day of egg collection.
If you are having a procedure where sedation is required then a responsible adult from the same household would still be required to collect you. The Hewitt Centre staff will arrange to contact the person accompanying you and will escort you to the main entrance to their care.
If I become pregnant how different will my antenatal/postnatal experience be?
It is important that as soon as you have a positive pregnancy scan with us that you contact your preferred antenatal service to book in for antenatal care. They will be able to guide you on changes in their service and postnatal services locally to you. Possible changes in their service could mean more phone consultations and less visits to the hospital and the possibility that your partner might not be able to attend your ante-natal clinic appointments
I am funding my treatment through Access Fertility, will the funding period be extended if my treatment has been delayed due to COVID-19?
Access Fertility has confirmed that they will ensure your funding period is extended if it was postponed due to the COVID-19 closure.
I am paying privately for my treatment; does this mean I am a priority for treatment following covid-19 closure?
No. We do not prioritise self-funded treatment cycles over our NHS treatments. All patients are treated equally and fairly.
I have already purchased medications that have now expired. Will I be reimbursed for more medication that I will now need to purchase again for treatment?
If your medication that was provided for your treatment has expired due to delays from the COVID-19 closure then the cost will be covered by the Hewitt Centre to replace this medication.
I am interested in EMMA/ALICE/ERA testing, will this service be available?
Yes. You can continue with this testing as it will not suppress your immune system in any way.
I am interested in immunoprofiling, will this service be available?
We will not provide immunosuppressants at this time due to the increased risk to immunosuppressed individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can proceed with the immunoprofiling testing but will need to delay an immunosuppressant therapy (if needed) until it is safe to proceed.
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