The health and safety of all our patients and staff is our absolute priority. We have made lots of changes to the clinic environment, the way we provide treatment and also how we interact with you and each other to make sure it's as safe as possible for you having your IVF treatment with CARE.
To reduce face-to-face interactions we will
- continue to offer virtual consultations and appointment with our doctors, nurses and counsellors by video call or telephone.
- encourage you to use our Patient Portal to complete your consent forms, read key information and pay for your treatment
- support you in being confident to administer any medications you need by giving you access to our new injection teach videos
- offer a minimal-contact drop off service for sperm providers to bring their semen samples to the clinic for analysis, at an agreed time.
- offer home kits for some hormone tests. We will post the kits and you take a tiny blood sample by pricking your finger, then post the sample back to the laboratory.
- only ask you to come into the clinic for vital monitoring. We can reassure you that we won’t compromise your treatment by making these changes.
We recognise that remote appointments aren’t for everyone and we will continue to offer in person appointments if we can.
We’re adapting our clinics so everyone can follow the principles of social distancing as far as is possible.
- We will use a type of protocol called a GnRH-Antagonist protocol wherever it's appropriate to your care. If your consultant thinks it is the best one for you at this time it will be explained in detail at your consult. You can also watch our video 'Explaining adapted protocols during COVID-19' on our COVID-19 FAQs page
- We will ask you to postpone treatment if it involves any therapy that might compromise your immune system (eg.intralipid or steroid therapy)
Keeping things safe in the laboratory
We have implemented a new “do not disturb” policy for embryos during the time they are cultured in our incubators. Now, if your embryos are in standard culture, rather than CAREmaps (time lapse), we will minimise the number of times we disturb them to assess them. There is some evidence that it may be better for your embryos if they are not taken out of the controlled incubation environment every day and we will be happy to explain this further to you.
Social Distancing and PPE
We will do our best to maintain social distancing wherever we can. There will be times during your treatment though when you will have to be in close or direct physical contact with members of our team. To protect you and our staff during these interactions, we will be implementing a number of social distancing measures as well as the use of PPE where appropriate.
Before you come for your appointment at CARE, we will ask you these screening questions:
- Have you or your partner or a person in your household had any of the following symptoms in the last 2 weeks:
- persistent cough
- loss of the sense of smell
- loss of the sense of taste
- Have you been in contact with anyone in the last 2 weeks who has any of these symptoms or has been diagnosed with Covid-19?
If you answer no to these questions then you can be confident to start treatment. If you are uncertain about your answers or are worried about being a healthy carrier of the illness, please contact us for advice.
Choosing to Test
You can choose to have a test to check whether you have an active COVID-19 infection*. The test will tell you whether you have an infection at the time of testing and having the test may give you confidence to start treatment and that you won’t be wasting your medications.
If you do have any symptoms of COVID-19 and you decide against having the screening test then we’ll ask you to delay your appointment and until you have completed isolation as advised by the government.
* As CARE Fertility Chester is based within an NHS Trust site, all patients attending for a procedure will need to have a negative COVID-19 swab before admission. Please contact the CARE Chester team for more information and advice.
Health screening during your treatment
We will ask you to consider the health screening questions before every clinic visit. If you do develop symptoms during treatment, you must contact us before your appointment. To protect our patients and staff, we won’t be treating anyone with an active COVID-19 infection until they are fully recovered.
When you come to a CARE clinic, we’ll ask you to wash your hands when you arrive using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We recommend you also carry disposable paper tissues and that you capture sneezes or coughs in a clean tissue then dispose of the tissue in one of our clinical waste bins and wash your hands again. We will also make sure tissues are available at reception and in the clinic.
The HFEA Code of Conduct
Our regulator, the HFEA, has made it a condition that all patients sign up to a code of conduct before treatment. By signing this, you will be agreeing to avoid behaviours - that might expose you to risks of Covid-19 infection at work and in private, and to restrict your social interactions as the government advises. If you book an appointment at CARE, we’ll send you a form to complete, confirming you will abide by the code of conduct. This is a requirement the HFEA has imposed and is mandatory.