Pacific NW Fertility Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates: July 15
We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic since March, but at PNWF we are getting more questions now that cases are surging again in Washington State and the prospect of this being over quickly is fading. We are hoping to answer some of your questions here, but feel free to reach out to any of our staff for additional information.
Is PNWF offering all services for fertility and family building now?
Yes! PNWF has been offering all fertility and family building services since May with our procedures carefully tailored to keep patients and staff safe. Elective surgeries such as hysteroscopies have been offered since mid-May.
Is there a risk that fertility clinics will need to close again if COVID-19 cases continue to increase?
Unlikely. Our prior pause in care was recommended by our national professional organization because we knew little about the disease and how to keep patients safe. We feel that we have created a safe environment for fertility and family building services, which will continue to be safe even if there are more cases in the community. It is unlikely that any state mandates will affect our services.
Will I need to get tested for COVID-19 during my treatment cycle?
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 we want to be notified immediately and you will likely need to get tested. If you are positive, we will have to pause your treatment until you have fully recovered. Many hospitals and some fertility clinics are requiring testing prior to surgery or other treatments, but thus far we have chosen not to because of the high false negative rates of the test and continued difficulties getting results in a timely fashion. Instead, we chose to take universal precautions using a high level of PPE; at this time, we think it is the safest approach. We may request coronavirus testing in the future.
What is known now about pregnancy and COVID-19? Should I delay getting pregnant?
We still know relatively little about pregnancy and coronavirus, and what we do know seems to change a little each day. There are huge efforts underway to get more detailed information, but this is hard when the duration of the pandemic is still shorter than the length of a pregnancy.
Recently the CDC released some US data which was widely publicized. These data showed that the death rate from COVID-19 is very low (0.2%) in all women ages 15-44 and was not higher in pregnant than in non-pregnant women. Their data also indicated that pregnant women with COVID-19 were more likely to be hospitalized, placed in an ICU or on a ventilator than non-pregnant women with COVID-19, so the CDC concluded that pregnant women “might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.” Others point out that pregnant women have many reasons to be admitted to the hospital (such as labor) and providers are understandably more cautious caring for pregnant patients with COVID-19, admitting them to the ICU or ventilating more readily. This interpretation of data would be consistent with previous studies that suggest that the risk of severe disease is not greater in pregnant women.
To date, no professional organization like AMA or American College of Ob/Gyn has told couples they should delay pregnancy until the pandemic is over. Most of the information we have is reassuring; in the reproductive age group, the risk of severe disease is very low, with less than 2% requiring admission to an ICU. Studies continue to conclude that significant. transmission of the virus to the fetus is unlikely. However, anyone who is most comfortable delaying pregnancy until a successful vaccine is available should do so, but chat with your fertility provider first to make sure that a delay will not compromise your chance of ultimate success. If you have medical issues such as chronic lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease, you may be more prone to severe COVID-19 disease and may want to focus on your health rather than getting pregnant.
For individuals who are undergoing IVF, the prevailing model is to stimulate the ovaries, retrieve eggs, develop, freeze, and possibly test embryos, and then in a separate cycle, to transfer the embryos. If you are planning IVF and are concerned about your age or your egg supply, one approach is to do the first part of the cycle, and then pause and reevaluate your time schedule before transferring the embryos.
Are you doing in-person visits for consultations?
Not yet. Consults for all patients will continue to be offered by telemedicine. We believe telemedicine will remain an important method of communication which increases convenience for our patients, while reducing infection risk by minimizing the traffic in the clinic.It also allows partners to participate fully in discussions and care decisions.
If your new patient visit is by telemedicine, soon afterwards we may have you come for a short visit to draw blood, and to have an ultrasound and vital signs performed.
Are partners allowed in the clinic yet?
Not yet. Our schedule is designed to reduce the number of patients in our waiting room at any given time, so since March we have not allowed partners to accompany patients for clinic appointments or procedures. We had hoped to start allowing partners back in the clinic for a few procedures soon, but, because of the recent surge in cases, we regret that we are not able to do so. We do, however, invite them to share your experience using an app like Facetime.
Please reach out to us with any questions. If you are new to our clinic, our front desk (206-515-0000) is available to answer questions and make appointments M-F 8am-5pm and S-S 8am-12.
Wear your mask and we hope to see you in person or virtually soon!
Your PNWF care team
May 14, 2020
Read about how PNWF is working to maintain "high-touch" fertility care for our patients over on our blog.
Pacific NW Fertility Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: April 28, 2020
As Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close, we are relieved to be taking our first steps in resuming care for our patients. We have worked hard to be sure we are completely prepared to keep our patients and staff safe, and we carefully considered our plan to gradually increase testing and treatments over the next few weeks. Our professional society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, supports this approach in regions that have passed their peak demands on the use of health care resources.
We are gradually restarting testing and treatment cycles. If you are an established patient wishing to schedule testing and restart treatment plans, please contact your team of nurses so we can help you plan your next steps.
Consults for all patients will continue to be offered by telemedicine. We believe telemedicine will remain an important method of communication which increases convenience for our patients, while reducing infection risk.
Our clinic might look different to you on your next visit. Please wear your own mask to the clinic. Every staff member at PNWF will wear a mask, but we will still greet you warmly with smiling eyes! Before entry to our clinic we will ask you a few questions, take your temperature, ask you to wash your hands, and make sure you have a surgical mask. We have designed our schedule to reduce the number of patients in our waiting room at any given time. Unfortunately, we cannot allow partners to accompany our patients at this time, but we invite them to share your experience via Facetime.
We apologize for the stress and inconvenience that these delays may have caused, but we have tried to balance public health needs with our strong desire to meet the needs of our patients. We look forward to working together and supporting one another as we learn to manage work, home, and relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of these new hurdles, we can’t wait to help you build the family that you have dreamed about!
Please reach out to us with any questions. If you are new to our clinic, our front desk (206-515-0000) is available to answer questions and make appointments M-F 8am-4pm and S-S 8am-12.
We hope to see you soon!
Your PNWF care team
Pacific NW Fertility Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: April 15, 2020
Zoom is the verb of the week, as our physicians continue to use telehealth for new and returning patients for evaluations, discussion of treatment pathways, and second opinions, as well as to support the emotional well-being of our patients.We have enjoyed seeing our patients in their home environment, without the stress of coming into a medical facility. Even though there may be a delay in treatment, there is still a lot we can do to move things forward remotely. Our front desk (206-515-0000) is available M-F 8am-4pm and S-S 8am-12 to make appointments.
As the rest of the country is still bracing for their peak use of resources during this pandemic, we in Washington State are now exploring the safest ways to offer much-needed fertility services. We will continue to balance the need for public health safety with the need to provide outstanding patient care. Please contact your team of nurses with your next menstrual period, so we can help you plan your next steps.
Working together and supporting one another has never been more important than today. Our hearts go out to anyone who has been impacted by the virus.Please stay safe and healthy. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or if there is anything we can do to help.
Your PNWF care team
Pacific NW Fertility Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: April 1, 2020
Thank you for your patience these last two weeks as we have all watched the United States become the new epicenter for the coronavirus epidemic. At Pacific Northwest Fertility, we have continued to work very hard to keep our patients and staff safe while we have completed IVF cycles and shifted to providing telehealth consults, urgent care, and egg freezing for patients with cancer. If you have visited our office recently you will have noted some changes, such as temperature-taking at entry and staff wearing masks.We have also been carefully monitoring the recommendations of CDC, state and county public health offices, local hospitals, and professional organizations.
This week our governing professional organization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), reaffirmed its recommendation that fertility centers pause all but urgent treatments. PNWF will continue to follow these guidelines to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 at this crucial time in the pandemic.
Our physicians are using telehealth for new and returning patients for evaluations, discussion of treatment pathways, and second opinions, as well as to support the emotional well-being of our patients. Please make use of this service to get your questions answered and to solidify your treatment plan. If you are considering IVF in the near future, you may wish to schedule an IVF consultation during this time, so that you will be in the queue to start a cycle when full services resume.
We clearly recognize the emotional toll this takes on our patients and do not want to extend delays any longer than necessary. As we watch our community cope with this pandemic, we are working hard to figure out how best to live with COVID-19 and provide much needed and time sensitive care in a safe environment. We will continue to evaluate the situation daily and will update this notice as needed to keep our PNWF community informed of new developments
Try to use this time to take care of yourself and your loved ones, physically and emotionally.Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to support you.
Your PNWF care team
Pacific NW Fertility Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: March 20, 2020
At Pacific Northwest Fertility, the health and safety of our patients, staff and community are our highest priority. As you know, information regarding the new coronavirus is changing quickly. For the past few weeks PNWF has been working very hard to keep our patients and staff safe, while continuing to provide top quality and personalized family building services.We have been carefully monitoring the recommendations of CDC, state and county public health offices and professional organizations.
In an attempt to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recently issued recommendations to fertility centers. In compliance with these new guidelines, PNWF will delay the starts of new treatment cycles, including in vitro fertilization, intrauterine inseminations, embryo transfers and donor egg cycles. We have transitioned to telehealth consultations for new and returning patients, so that you will be ready to resume or start treatment as soon as it can be offered. We will also continue to provide early obstetrical care and urgent medical care as needed.
We understand how stressful this pause in reproductive care might be for you, but feel that we are ethically obligated to do what we can to limit the spread of disease and conserve health care resources during this unprecedented time. We will continue to evaluate the situation daily and look forward to resuming all services in the near future. Updates will be posted to this website and to your patient portal as they become available. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to support you.
Thank you for understanding this difficult decision. Please stay healthy and safe as we face this new challenge together.
Your PNWF care team
Pacific NW Fertility Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates: March 4, 2020
At Pacific Northwest Fertility, your safety and health is our highest priority.
Traditionally, we like to greet our patients with a handshake (or hug). But given recent recommendations from the Health Department about the potential spread of COVID-19, we will be taking additional safety measures for the time being and greet you instead with a friendly hello. We strive to provide the same personalized, warm atmosphere you are used to while keeping you safe.
Based on recommendations from the King County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control, we recommend the following steps to protect yourself and others.
- Stay home when sick and avoid close contact with others — If you are exhibiting signs or symptoms of a cold or flu, please stay home. Let us know if you are symptomatic and we may be able to switch your appointment to a phone visit.
- Wash Your Hands — When you arrive at the clinic, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. The bathroom in the elevator lobby is available for hand washing.
- Practice Excellent Hygiene – Wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes. When coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or elbow.
- Keep Some Distance – Avoid crowds and practice the 6-foot rule (stay 6 feet away from someone coughing or sneezing).
- Stay away from people who are ill — This is especially important for individuals older than 60 or those with an underlying health condition.
- Avoid crowds and high volume public places.
- Avoid going to the emergency room unless essential — ER’s need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. When possible, contact your Primary Care Provider first.
Please know that we have always employed the most up to date infection control procedures at Pacific Northwest Fertility, and will continue to do so.
We take your safety, and the safety of our team, with nothing but the utmost seriousness. Our team members will only come to work if they are feeling completely well, and we encourage you to do the same with your appointments. If you are feeling ill and have an upcoming appointment, please allow us to reschedule at your convenience. Please contact the office by phone or email for any scheduling needs or with any questions you may have.
Your care team at Pacific NW Fertility
Washington State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus
Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. Note: The DOH coronavirus hotline (1-800-525-0127, press #) is experiencing high traffic and may be temporarily unavailable.
My partner and I went to PNWF because of the positive stance they take on assisting the LGBT community build families. Our primary provider is wonderful. From the get-go, the doctor made us feel comfortable, she took the time to answer all of our questions, and it felt like we were friends talking about fertility treatment, not numbers on a chart. Our doctor, over the course of our treatment, really got to know our personalities too, which was great. I prefer scientific explanations and my partner prefers brief, "give me the short version" explanations. I mention this because the fact that she got to know us in that way really made us feel like she cared about us personally as well as the outcome of our treatment and our family.