COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Posted on: March 17th, 2020 by Our Team

The global landscape is rapidly changing due to COVID-19; in order to best serve our patients and their future families, Fertility Specialists of Texas must adapt and change, as well. As always, the health and safety of FST’s patients and staff are of utmost importance. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation and are following the recommendations outlined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization), ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) and local public health authorities.

We are in this together and Fertility Specialists of Texas remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering responsible medical care that is focused on the safety and well-being of patient, pregnancy and baby.

If you’re an established patient in cycle and have questions regarding treatment, please contact your nurse. For all other questions, please call our office: 214-618-2044.

“The adage, ‘it takes a village,’ has never proven truer. We are all in this together and will arrive on the other side of this global challenge stronger, more resilient and more determined to create a better world for all.” — Jerald Goldstein, MD, FST medical director and founder

Q: What is Fertility Specialists of Texas doing to safeguard its patients, staff and overall practice in light of the risk of coronavirus/COVID-19?

A: FST is implementing every precautionary measure advised by the CDC, WHO, ASRM and local public health authorities:

  • Medical screenings are being conducted via phone and at check-in to minimize possible exposure to all patients and staff.
  • Any patient exhibiting symptoms, has known exposure, or who has recently traveled will not be seen in the office. This criteria applies to our FST team members, as well.
  • For the immediate future, patients may not be accompanied to any in-office appointments in accordance with group gathering restrictions.
  • All consultations and follow-ups are available exclusively via phone and web conference.
  • Social distancing recommendations have been adopted within the office, when possible, without compromising your care and treatment.
  • Sanitizing and disinfecting protocols have been heightened and implemented, including additional cleanings of all points of contact between staff and patients.
  • FST safety protocols are being reviewed daily and updated to reflect the latest regulations advised by the CDC.
  • All FST monthly seminars are being moved to a webinar format, please check our events page for updates.

Q: As a patient, what can I do to ensure safe treatment?

A: FST is making every effort to mitigate social exposure and virus transmission; it’s imperative, however, that each patient is an advocate for his/her health, as well:

  • Practice social distancing in the FST waiting room whenever possible — a minimum of six feet between yourself and others.
  • Wash hands thoroughly (backs of hands, between fingers and under nails) with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds — the time it takes to hum “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Apply hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol throughout the day.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. In the absence of one, cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow (not your hands).

Q: Are in-office appointments still available?

A: All new patient appointments, financial consultations, follow-ups and injection teachings are now available via phone or web conference exclusively. Our financial services team is working with insurance providers to ensure patients are billed appropriately for virtual appointments.

If you have an appointment scheduled later this month and have not been contacted about your virtual appointment details, please call 214-618-2044. We are making every effort to contact all patients as soon as possible.

Q: What care is available at Fertility Specialists of Texas during the COVID-19 crisis?

A: We doing our due diligence to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are adhering to public health guidelines:

  1. New patient appointments are available Monday-Friday, 8 am-2 pm, via phone and video conference platforms like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and GoToMeeting.
  2. Follow-up appointments are also available via remote options.
  3. Emergency services such as surgical management of an ectopic pregnancy will be performed, as needed.

Q: How will my treatment cycle be impacted?

A: We are monitoring this developing situation closely and are adhering the guidelines set forth by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM):

  1. Retrievals will be completed for patients in an active cycle only.
  2. Due to the unknown effects of the developing fetus and the risk of becoming immunocompromised during pregnancy, FST is delaying all transfers at this time.
  3. Until further notice, there will be no new cycle starts or IUIs and all non-essential surgical procedures are on hold.
  4. New patient and follow-up visits are available by telehealth means: phone, web conference or other digital means only.

Q: I have been waiting for weeks to see a fertility specialist; now my appointment is canceled. What are my options?

A: We believe infertility is a time-sensitive disease and we understand how frustrating a cancelation can be. We are committed to helping you achieve a successful outcome as soon as we are safely and legally allowed to do so in compliance with federal, state and local laws. In the interim, phone and telemedicine appointments are available. These virtual meetings allow you to meet and get to know your specialist, learn about the treatment options available and outline next steps that will help expedite your process once our clinic is fully operational again.

Q: How is Fertility Specialists of Texas caring for patients using third-party reproduction?

A: We are committed to the completion of all of our third-party patients and are continuing to see new patients virtually. Our team is available for phone and video consultations. We will begin treatment as soon as it is safe to do so in accordance with federal, state and local policies.

Q: Will COVID-19 have a direct effect on the success of my treatment cycle?

A: The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) offers the following: “Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease. This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers.

Other forms of coronavirus have been linked to increased adverse outcomes during pregnancy, but data specific to COVID-19 is not yet available. … Given the information we do have, while it would be wise for individuals with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection to avoid pregnancy, there appears to be no cause for alarm for those already pregnant.”

Q: I’m pregnant; how will COVID-19 impact my health and the health of my pregnancy and child?

A: According to the CDC:

  • There are no published scientific reports about the susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19.
  • Pregnant women naturally experience changes to their immune system, as well as physiologically which could make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
  • Currently, there is no information regarding adverse pregnancy outcomes in relation to COVID-19. Pregnancy loss has been noted in cases of other related coronavirus infections (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV).
  • High fevers during the first trimester can increase the risk of certain birth defects.

COVID-19 Fast Facts

The following information has been provided by the CDC:

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19; the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to it.
  • The virus is primarily spread from person-to-person, those in close contact (within 6 feet of each other) and through respiratory droplets via coughs and sneezes.
  • COVID-19 can be contracted by anyone at any time, regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • Being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or people who live in or have been in an area with an active spread of the virus are at an increased risk of exposure.
  • Patients who have completed quarantine or have been released from isolation do not pose a risk of spreading infection.
  • Facemasks are in short supply; if you are not sick or are not caring for someone who is, it is not necessary to wear one.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services daily, including cell phones, keys, doorknobs, light switches, etc.

This is an ever-evolving situation, for the latest updates, please visit the CDC’s dedicated COVID-19 page.

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