Australia is set to become the first country to “gradually” restart IVF treatment after Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that COVID-19 restrictions on IVF treatment and other elective surgery would begin to ease this week.
With the spread of Coronavirus slowing, Australia is trying to slowly end their lockdown and restart the economy.
Elective surgeries including IVF were suspended in March in a bid to free up more beds for Coronavirus patients with only emergency operations going ahead.
The decision was overturned following a decline in disease transmission and the arrival of millions of face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) products.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also hinted at stopping the ban on elective surgeries, saying there could be an ‘immediate return in that area’ after Tuesday’s meeting.
Life Whisperer CEO Dr Michelle Perugini said: “At the helm of desperate intended parents, a strong IVF clinical sector, and a supportive Government, Australia is leading the world in recognizing IVF treatment as an essential service and allowing treatment to re-commence.
This is amazing news for the industry. I hope other countries will follow Australia’s lead to open up the IVF industry whilst diligently managing the threat of Covid-19.”
Fertility clinics have seen an increase in calls from patients who are desperate to restart their fertility treatment after the federal government lifted its ban on elective surgery, but for many, this might not be as simple as they hoped.
Fertility industry guidelines were being distributed, outlining best practice for the use of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing of patients deemed at risk.
This may take clinics some time to to get new policies in place to ensure they are providing a safe environment for their staff and patients.
Patients whose cycles had been postponed due to the COVID-19 epidemic may get prioritised over patients just starting out. Women aged 40 or above, have a low ovarian reserve or those that had already started treatment being treated first.
Having to undergo IVF treatment is already a stressful time for couples and the COVID-19 epidemic will have had compounded this further stress with some feeling they had lost out on their chance at motherhood.
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