The coronavirus virus has had an impact on all of our lives. Naturally, many people are concerned about the long-term repercussions on their overall health as well as their fertility. While many of these long-term problems are still unknown, we will do all we can to address any concerns that you may have. The information in this article is based on the opinions of health experts world as well as any data which is currently available.
With fertility clinics in Bangkok and Cambodia, at First Fertility, we are naturally following the COVID-19 outbreak carefully to establish what, if any, impact it has on fertility both in the short and long-term. We are aware that those who had the virus have concerns and well as those who feel that they may be at more risk of catching the virus in the future. As such, we have tried to answer some of the most questions.
Does contracting the coronavirus impact future fertility?
While there have been no studies into this particular area, the early indications are that the COVID-19 has no impact on egg production, although there may be a short-term impact on sperm production. Once you have overcome the virus, fertility should return to normal, and we do not recommend egg freezing for this reason alone.
Can the coronavirus affect egg production?
It is not thought that COVID-19 effects egg production. However, how it affects oocytes is, at this stage, unknown. Therefore, if you can currently undergoing or are considering undergoing fertility treatment and you are displaying flu-like symptoms, a cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell, you should delay treatment for at least 14 days. Likewise, if you have been in contact with someone who has the virus, even if you are not displaying symptoms, you should self-isolate for two weeks.
Why in some cases is can sperm production affected by COVID-19?
It is believed that male sperm production can be affected short-term in a similar way to how it would be if you had any other illness. It is thought that the problem will rectify itself without any treatment. Taking vitamin supplements and reducing alcohol consumption may help as this has been proven to be beneficial to men’s overall fertility.
Should I consider freezing my sperm in case I contract the virus?
We don’t believe that there is any requirement to freeze sperm as a preventative measure. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that COVID-19 has any long-term impact on semen or sperm production.
Should we stop trying for a baby until a vaccine for the coronavirus is found?
There is no medical reason for stopping trying for a baby at the current time. While it is possible that if the female were to contract the virus when pregnant, she could pass it on to the foetus, the risks are minimal. There is also no suggestion that pregnant women are more susceptible to the virus than anyone else. The most significant issues that couples appear to be facing are logistical ones and restrictions on travel.
Are pregnant women more susceptible to severe symptoms of coronavirus?
A study commissioned by the CDC suggests that there is a likelihood that pregnant women are at risk of more severe complications should they contract the virus. Pregnant women who are admitted to ICU are more likely to need to be put on a ventilator according to a study in Sweden. However, as pregnant women are NOT more likely to contract the virus, the best option is shielding and avoiding places which could put them at a higher risk of catching the virus.
What impact does COVID-19 have on a foetus?
According to initial studies, around 1.2% of foetuses are stillborn if the mother contracts COVID-19 compared to an average of 0.6%. The most significant difference identified in the study was that 21.3% were born preterm compared to an average of 10%. Experts still say that the prospects of a healthy baby, even those that are born premature, are still “good” with women who contract the virus in their third trimester at most risk of having a less favourable outcome. Doctors say expectant mothers should not be overly concerned about the dangers as the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.
Can newborn babies catch coronavirus?
Once again, according to the CDC, newborn babies can contract the virus and are at the same risk as adults. However, otherwise healthy babies and children appear to be at less risk of developing more serious symptoms, with most being asymptomatic. However, if your baby has any other underlying medical issues, particularly if they are respiratory-related, they may experience more severe symptoms. If you are concerned that your baby has contracted the virus, seek medical attention immediately.
Can I start fertility treatment at present?
In Thailand, compared to other areas of the world, there have been very few reported cases of the COVID-19. As such, there is no reason at present why you cannot commence fertility treatment or seek further advice. Of course, this is different in other countries and could be subject to change without prior warning. We would suggest contacting the clinic before attending an appointment to confirm that the situation remains unchanged.
I am concerned that we have fertility issues aside from COVID-19, what should we do?
If you are concerned that you or your partner has some fertility problems, we would recommend seeking medical advice as soon as possible. Infertility can be a cause of immense stress for couples, and this should not be overlooked due to the current pandemic. However, if you are displaying symptoms of the virus or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, we would ask you to delay making an appointment or postpone your appointment for 14-days.
If you would like more information on any concerns you might have relating to fertility either now or in the future, you can speak to a member of our professional team. Please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions or arrange an appointment.