Putting a pause on pregnancies: The window of conception narrows as the global pandemic lingers

Infertility treatment struggles amid COVID-19 pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We continue to get a better picture of the far-reaching effects the COVID-19 will have or is having on people. Whether it’s making someone sick or causing loss of income, there isn’t a sector of life this outbreak isn’t affecting.

That includes those trying to become parents.

Many of the patients walking into Fertility Associates of Memphis have lost hope before when trying to become parents.

“These patients and these clients are so used to the waiting game,” Attorney Jana Lamanna said.

The COVID-19 outbreak has some waiting even longer to have a baby. Since the pandemic started, the Associated Society of Reproductive Medicine or ASRM has recommended no new fertility treatments be started.

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While researchers haven’t found evidence the virus is worse in pregnant women, there are still a lot of unknowns.

“The safest course of action is to not attempt pregnancy at this time,” Dr. Paul Brezina with Fertility Associates of Memphis said. “That’s because we don’t know a lot about this virus right now.”

ASRM is strongly considering patients already in the process cancel embryo transfers. Dr. Brezina said those patients at Fertility Associates of Memphis who are already in the process are getting the choice to continue or not.

“This is so hard for so many patients,” Dr. Brezina said. “For a lot of patients, we see they feel like their fertility window is really narrowing.”

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Attorney Jana Lamanna with Black McLaren Jones Ryland and Griffee, P.C. does surrogacy contracts. A pandemic is something many going through the process have never thought about.

“I’m amending my contracts to make sure we have protocols for pandemics,” Lamanna said. “Right now, we have some [language in the contract] there for things like zika virus.”

ASRM says it will recommend starting new treatments as soon as it sees safe. It first reassessed the recommendation on March 30, but nothing changed.

For now, it could be weeks or months more of waiting.

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