The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority(HFEA) has said it hopes that despite new local lockdowns, a new national closure of fertility clinics should not be necessary
The HFEA statement comes amid the worrying increase in COVID-19 cases across the UK and hopes that it will provide some reassurance about fertility treatment to patients.
In May 2020, all HFEA licensed clinics had to set out a Treatment Commencement Strategy showing how they could provide a safe service for their staff and patients during the pandemic.
The HFEA said these strategies are kept under regular review by clinics and its inspectors, and all clinics should follow the latest guidance from the UK professional bodies – the British Fertility Society and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists.
An HFEA spokeswoman said, “As the pandemic continues, we recognise that individual clinics may face circumstances where they will have to consider whether they can continue to maintain a safe service for a period of time – for example if they have a high level of staff sickness or their local hospital trust decides to restrict some patient services.
“We expect clinics to follow professional and local guidance and to review and adapt their treatment strategy to ensure fertility treatment can continue to be provided safely.”
Thousands of devastated couples had their treatment put on hold in March due to coronavirus. They had to wait six weeks before clinics were allowed to re-open and for their treatment to commence.
The storage limit for frozen eggs, sperm, and embryos extended during the coronavirus outbreak
The HFEA has also announced that the storage limit for frozen eggs, sperm, and embryos has been extended by two years.
New legislation came into effect on July 1, 2020, so that those undergoing fertility treatment during the coronavirus pandemic have more time to continue their treatment.
The new law, entitled the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Statutory Storage Period for Embryos and Gametes) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.
The HFEA has said that if anyone has any questions relating to their frozen eggs, sperm, and embryos, they recommend they contact their clinic.
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