CRGH Response to COVID-19
This page was last updated on 24th March 2020
We understand that our patients are becoming increasingly concerned about COVID-19 and its potential to affect their treatment plans and their general health. The government lockdown announced yesterday evening constitutes an unprecedented set of restrictions on individual freedoms, but ones that may save many lives. We will comply fully with these requirements – reducing staffing levels to the safe minimum, and keeping people at home where we can – while keeping our promise to those already in treatment.
The health and safety of our patients and staff is our absolute priority. We have a detailed management plan in place, which follows best practice guidance from Public Health England, in terms of personal hygiene and cleaning, self-isolation, and protective equipment. If staff are exposed or have symptoms they are immediately self-isolating.
As with other flu-like respiratory illnesses, infection with COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms including a cough and fever. It can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
The HFEA have instructed clinics to follow BFS guidance regarding a temporary restriction of treatment. You can find their guidance here:
For all patients currently in stimulation as part of a fresh cycle, we will finish the cycle up to and including egg collection, but freeze embryos rather than carry out an embryo transfer (if the patient wishes to proceed).
We will not commence new cycles for patients. Those currently booked for a fresh IVF cycle and transfer will instead have their embryos frozen for use as soon as we are permitted to reopen,
Patients booked for a frozen embryo transfer, who have commenced progesterone will proceed (if the patient wishes).
Any patient that has already started treatment for IUI will go ahead, but no new IUI cycles will commence.
We will continue to offer:
- Video consultations
- Video mini-consultations
- Telephone support from all departments via our call centre on the main CRGH phone number and via firstname.lastname@example.org
Any patient who has had their treatment deferred will be prioritised as soon as we are permitted to resume.
The advice on pregnancy is changing rapidly. Your best source of advice is The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The link to their guidance can be found here:
Eggs, Sperm, and Embryos
Currently there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through genital fluids nor be passed from mother to foetus. As such, we would not treat eggs, sperm or embryos from a person with COVID-19 any differently.
There is no concern with regards to transmission in liquid nitrogen at this stage. To date, there has been no known infectious transmission of any virus within the gametes/embryos setting so the risk is considered negligible and no change in practice is being adopted.
Measures to Reduce Risk of Infection
We are recording all instances of foreign travel, and isolating staff where necessary. Staff are being encouraged to report any exposure risk and self-isolate.
We have increased the number of hand cleaning sprays throughout the clinic, and have posted information on correct handwashing technique above all sinks.
Our cleaning team have increased the frequency of disinfection of all areas, with particular focus on commonly touched areas such as door handles and handrails. Our clinical teams have a deep clean protocol for areas such as theatre, scan rooms, and the ward, which is being implemented regularly.
The government is now advising against all international travel. You can access the guidance here: