There have been many messages in regard to COVID -19 over the past few weeks. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) did not recommend against pregnancy and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommended the suspension of most assisted reproductive treatments. This has caused some confusion and a lot of questions for those considering treatments, and those in the midst of family-building during the COVID-19 outbreak. While it is always best to check with your provider, below are a few responses to some of the most frequently asked questions we have been hearing from those in the LGBTQ community who are currently looking to grow their family:
Should I Cancel my Consultation Appointment?
This is a great time to learn about the basics of family building from home, so reach out to a trusted provider if you're thinking about getting started. As of right now, most physicians are now offering consultations via telemedicine (video or phone chat). While physician offices are limiting the number of in-person visitors to their offices and waiting rooms, there is no reason not to take the opportunity to get some information from your own home as a way to start your family building journey.
What Do I Do If I’ve Already Started Treatments?
If you're a mom-to-be and you're in the middle of a cycle, it is likely that it will be postponed, so be sure to check-in with your provider. Certainly if you are ill, or have been in direct contact with someone with COVID-19, cycle cancelation will likely be recommended by your physician. The information in pregnancy is ever-changing, so you must be ready for your cycle to be postponed to a future date.
If you're a dad-to-be and you're in the middle of a cycle, your provider will be the best source of information about your personal plan in regards to egg donor retrieval or embryo transfer into your surrogate. For many prospective dads, their journey involves a lot of education, email, and phone communication - all those should continue as usual. Certainly, there is time to do homework online with Gay Parents To Be, Gays With Kids, and Men Having Babies. If you are currently looking for a donor, it is a good time to do that. Additionally, many of the surrogacy agencies and physicians can complete virtual consults to get you started.
If I, my partner, or my surrogate becomes pregnant and then acquires COVID-19, will the baby be in danger?
According to the CDC and very preliminary research, if a person carrying a pregnancy acquires the coronavirus, it does not seem to cross the placenta to the baby. However, this research is based on a very small number of pregnancies, and there isn't enough information to be sure of anything. If you or your surrogate are pregnant and affected by COVID-19, you will be followed very closely to protect both you and the baby.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
According to the CDC, you should look out for symptoms like malaise, body aches, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately and stay at home.
Guidelines are ever-changing so please be sure to stay up to date with current recommendations and guidelines with the following resources:
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
It is normal to feel anxious, it is ok to ask for help.
I encourage patients to learn to transfer the anxious feeling to hope for the future. We will get through this as a global community, and I hope it makes us all realize that we truly are all connected.
Dr. Mark P. Leondires is the Founder and Medical Director of Illume Fertility, an inclusive, award-winning fertility clinic with five locations in Connecticut and New York. Dr. Leondires is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Leondires is also the Founder of Gay Parents To Be, a leading family-building resource for the LGBTQ+ community - a passion project created after undergoing his own journey to parenthood as a gay dad.