The panic to buy as many toilet rolls as humanly possible still continues across the globe, however, a new panic purchase has emerged in NYC, as some women, who fear their chances of motherhood may be at risk and that time is against them, are racing to freeze their eggs.
We came across the news recently in an article in The New York Times, entitled ‘Coronavirus sparks egg-freeze frenzy at NYC fertility clinic’.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping across the world, Dr Brian Levine, the director of the CCRM Fertility NY clinic was quoted as saying, “In the last five days, I’ve seen at least a 25% increase in volume of people wanting to proceed with treatment than any given time.”
So, is ‘panic freezing’ really happening?
Well, the truth is that clinics in the US are getting swamped with requests for egg, sperm, and embryo freezing. In addition to these requests, they are also receiving a huge number of questions and concerns. “We have definitely seen a surge of questions, fears and concerns about the Coronavirus!” Exclaims Dr Meera Shah of NOVA IVF in Mountain View, California.
Why is this happening now?
It is more than likely because the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) has suggested that people who have any symptoms of the coronavirus should freeze all eggs or embryos, and avoid embryo transfers.
In addition to unanswered questions about how the virus could affect overall reproductive health, the medical industry are postponing IVF and IUI treatments. In countries where socialised medicine foots the bill for infertility treatments, such as the UK and much of Europe, the resources will be needed elsewhere.
In the US and Canada, where IVF and IUI are not covered by socialised medicine, there is good reason to believe that people will have difficulties accessing clinics, owing to lockdowns and quarantines. In an extreme scenario, such as that in Italy and Spain, non-essential clinics will also be on lockdown.
So should you panic and freeze your eggs?
The simple answer is NO. We asked Mr James Nicopoullos , Consultant Gynaecologist and Sub-specialist in Reproductive Medicine & Surgery at the Lister Fertility Clinic
“We are absolutely not seeing this phenomenon in the UK.
We have a responsibility to ourselves and our health and also a greater social responsibility. However bleak, uncertain and scary the world is currently looking, this will pass and the likelihood is that we will be up and running again in a few months. In such a short period of time your overall fertility, chances of natural conception or quality/quality of your eggs will not decline significantly and definitely not enough to be the defining difference in your chances of having a family.
More importantly, we along with most clinics have taken the decision to cease new fertility cycles. Although we have the staffing and hospital infrastructure to operate a service, we don’t feel this is the socially responsible thing to do. There is likely to be an increase in social distancing measures and we need to ensure that we are acting to promote the wider public health, promote social distancing and support the NHS efforts in any way we can. This is not achieved by encouraging people to have non-essential egg freezing putting their health and possibly more frail members of their family’s health at risk by ignoring isolation guidelines. We will get through this and then we can get cracking!”
The world looks bleak right now and the future is uncertain, but please be reassured that things will get better eventually. Listen to what the experts are saying and try not to get swept up in the frenzy.
As James says, there is NO NEED TO PANIC FREEZE. Stick to toilet rolls!!
Reach out to us, reach out to the TTC community. Arm yourself only with facts and take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.
If you get a moment, take a look at this amazing advice from fertility counsellor Sandra Hewett. In the article, Sandra gives us some incredible coping techniques to help keep the panic at bay.
Are you feeling worried and anxious about your fertility during Covid-19? Share your feelings, or reach out and let us know your thoughts. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.