UPDATE: MARCH 22, 2020 10:20AM PST
Some important new measures: We are working on a plan to continue to provide consultation and follow up by telephone – we will have a system in place shortly to address this. If you have questions that cannot wait, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Emergencies: We will be continuing to provide emergency assistance to patients who are in the middle of treatment or have early pregnancy complications.
If you are in an emergency situation, please call: 604-341-5764
UPDATE: MARCH 20, 2020 8:00AM PST
We deeply regret to inform you that PCRM VFC is temporarily closed. Our first priority is the health and safety of our staff and patients. With the guiding recommendations from Public Health officials and our abundance of caution we have made this very difficult closure decision. The closure is going to be temporary and the duration is undetermined at this time. Our ability to offer services will be re-evaluated daily as updates on the pandemic become available. We are trying our best to notify each patient in active treatment as soon as we can. Emergency on-call physicians will still be available. Please check our website and social platforms daily, as we will endeavor to update you as best we can while the course of the pandemic changes.
UPDATE: MARCH 18, 2020 5:45AM PST
Both Alberta and British Columbia have declared a public health emergency in an effort to restrict the congregation of people, and keep individuals from being infected, or spreading infection. As well, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the European Society of Human Reproduction, and the Canadian Fertility Andrology Society have all stated that we should likely avoid helping to achieve pregnancy currently. These recommendations are aimed to reduce burden on the healthcare system and avoid the theoretical or unknown consequences of pregnancy with COVID19. (Please see the recently published British guidelines, linked below).
Because of this, we are announcing the following program changes:
- Effective immediately, all IUI cycles will be ceased
- Effective immediately, we will not be starting any new frozen embryo transfer cycles (FET) – those with established dates will proceed with their transfers
- IVF stimulations will continue per national guidelines, however all embryos will be frozen, with frozen embryo transfer once the pandemic resolves
Everybody currently affected by these program changes will be, or has been, contacted. Please bear with us - communications are being organized by urgency.
While we understand the stress and anxiety of changing your treatment plans, please understand that these are extraordinary times in medical care, and we have to do whatever possible to ensure that we be safe and limit the spread of COVID-19 (the disease caused by sars-CoV-2).
For some very supportive information, please see the British Guidelines on pregnancy in the COVID-19 era and the March 17th Canadian Fertility Andrology Society statement.
UPDATE: MARCH 17, 2020 7:15AM PST
The PCRM Crisis Management Team met for two hours today to review the Prime Minister’s address, and the BC Minister of Health press conference. We are working with all of our staff to ensure we can continue to function and provide the safety for patient care excellence. As you know, the COVID-19 disease course is changing daily, and our primary objective is ensuring that your care can continue in a safe manner. Screening measures at all of our clinics are in place to limit anybody that may require self isolation, or have COVID-19 risks. These individuals will be denied clinic access. We are asking all patients not to bring in additional family members or children to the clinic. As well, we are shifting as much as we can into telephone consultations and follow ups, so that your waiting period won’t be extended. We will also be streamlining some services to ensure that the most urgent care is attended to first. This is a rapidly shifting area, and as updates occur, we will be notifying you.
UPDATE: MARCH 16, 2020 8:35AM PST
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PCRM now has a Crisis Management Team which will be implementing the most current public health care policies to ensure safety. The Team meets daily to review and implement the most current guidelines, and ensure that what we are doing in all clinics aligns with the daily changes in practice.
Today we will be starting to minimize elective patient care, and maximize our focus on patients in the middle, or about to start treatments. We will also be undertaking screening of patients both by phone, and also in person – ensuring that high risk individuals (those with recent travel, symptoms, or exposure) have their consultations via telephone rather than in person.
While there will undoubtedly be delays; we hope that our patients will work with us to ensure that we can provide the most safe and cautious environment for everyone.
MARCH 13, 2020
As you are aware from multiple sources, our country is making a concerted effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The risks still remain low – but the precautions must remain high.
Together, what are we doing?
- Patients who test positive for COVID-19 are asked not to attend the clinic and delay treatment until they are cured
- Patients who have a fever and a high-risk travel history, or close contact with infected person, are asked to delay their treatment for a minimum or 14 days or until they are cured (if they contract the virus)
- If you are in the middle of treatment, and are intending to travel, your treatment will be delayed until 14d of self-isolation is complete. For those who will be missing their urgent appointments, we will do our best to still accommodate your appointment via telephone.
Please follow your recommendations from the local health authority:
- If a patient develops symptoms of COVID-19 infection during stimulation for IVF or FET, she will be instructed not to come to clinic. The cycle will be cancelled and fees will be held as a credit and applied to the next cycle. (Medications are non-refundable).
- If a patient develops symptoms of COVID-19 after egg retrieval, but before embryo transfer, she will be instructed to freeze-all. Costs for subsequent FET would be as usual.
- Patients with recent travel outside Canada would be recommended to delay treatment for at least 14 days
- Resources on COVID-19 and pregnant woman can found here
- NEW! Updated SOGC Committee Opinion - COVID-19 in Pregnancy
REGARDING PREGNANCY (Q and A)
Q: Are pregnant women more susceptible to infection, or at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality with COVID-19, compared with the general public?
A: We do not have information from published scientific reports about susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Pregnant women also might be at risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality compared to the general population as observed in cases of other related coronavirus infections [including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)] and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, during pregnancy. Pregnant women should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.
Q: Are pregnant women with COVID-19 at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes?
A: We do not have information on adverse pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19. Pregnancy loss, including miscarriage and stillbirth, has been observed in cases of infection with other related coronaviruses [SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV] during pregnancy. High fevers during the first trimester of pregnancy can increase the risk of certain birth defects.
Q: How can I prevent infection?
The most effective way to prevent being infected is proper handwashing, alcohol based hand rubs -ABHR- (ideally over 70%), face masks for droplet spread prevention, and common sense. The biggest threat to you are others who self declare infection risk, or who are infected already. Remember, Infection control specialists are now advising that ABHR are very effective, unless your hands are visibly soiled – then soap and water are preferred.