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Coronavirus Updates: May 5, 2020

Coronavirus Updates: May 5, 2020

Dear Spring Family,

We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. We know that for many of our patients, pausing fertility treatments has caused tremendous stress and pain. Please know that we are doing everything we can to re-start your journey as quickly and safely as possible.

As previously communicated, we will be gradually re-initiating cycle starts for all patients over the coming weeks at a cadence that will enable us to prioritize our most time-sensitive patients, as well as provide the highest level of care to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

We’ve included the earliest available appointments, by type, below. If you are interested in beginning treatment as soon as possible, we will do our best to accommodate you. Please contact your care team with the start of your next menses or a positive ovulation test and we will review next steps and develop a personalized treatment timeline for you.

  • April 23rd IUI, IVF and Egg Freezing starts began for patients 38 and older, unique situations considered
  • May 11th All IUI, IVF and Egg Freezing cycle starts resume
  • June 1st Frozen Embryo Transfers cycle starts resume
  • June 1st Third party (egg donor and gestational carrier) screening processes resume, only if Shelter in Place ordinance is lifted

Other diagnostic appointments including Saline Sonograms, HSGs, and Semen Analyses, as well as necessary Hysteroscopic surgical procedures, will resume May 4th.

We will continue to leverage telehealth services to complete initial consults via video conference through June 1st.

Please know that we take our role as healthcare providers during this time (and always) with great responsibility. We have made modifications to our typical patient experience to ensure the continued health of our patients, providers, and staff, and we greatly appreciate your understanding.

This means that you may see a provider other than your primary Spring physician for your monitoring appointments during the month of May. Rest assured that your doctor will still be creating your treatment plan and will be available to answer any questions you may have.

Additionally, in accordance with county-wide ordinances, we are requiring patients to bring their own masks to appointments, as well as permitting partners or other guests to only attend limited appointments, including egg retrievals and pregnancy ultrasounds (and later, embryo transfers).

As soon as the epidemiologic situation permits, we plan to resume our normal operations. Behind all of our Spring masks, we’re your same committed team. We are here for you and are dedicated to partnering with you to achieve your goals.

 

In health and fertility,
Your Spring Family

 

P.S. Below are some publicly available pandemic related resources that you may find helpful:

 

Previous Coronavirus Update: April 17, 2020

Dear Spring Family,

Thank you for all that you’re doing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We recognize the immense personal sacrifices that everyone has made during this time to respond to the pandemic. We miss seeing our team in the office each day, we miss seeing you, and we miss the opportunity to share in the highs (and lows) of supporting your fertility journey. 

Fortunately, in the Bay Area it seems that we are winning in our goal to flatten the curve. We greatly appreciate the support we received from so many of you regarding our decision to pause beginning new fertility treatment cycles, and today, we are happy to share that we will be re-initiating egg retrieval cycle starts beginning on April 23rd. We plan to start slowly and will be prioritizing the most time sensitive cases first (egg retrievals for patients over age 38 or unique circumstances). Over the next few weeks, we will begin to re-initiate cycle starts for additional patients, even if the shelter in place ordinance is extended. This will include frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles beginning in mid-May.

The entire team at Spring is passionate about providing the highest caliber of fertility care, and we look forward to continuing to advance our mission to partner with patients to achieve their goals, safely and responsibly.

How has the situation changed?

When we suspended the initiation of new treatment cycles, we did so because we felt it was our social responsibility to prevent any undue burden on our healthcare system, not because of data suggesting that it was unsafe to pursue treatment or conceive. Additionally, we faced tremendous uncertainty around how the rate of infection would progress in the Bay Area. Fortunately, early actions have proven effective at managing community transmission, and our hospitals and critical care centers are not under stress.

Fertility care is defined as essential by the state of California and as a standalone private practice (not part of a larger hospital), we can operate without diverting needed resources like personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, or skilled staff from the pandemic response at a larger hospital system.

So, is it safe to pursue treatment?

It is safe to conceive despite the pandemic, but there are important considerations for any person or couple considering pregnancy right now. At this time, still very little is known about the SARS-Cov2 virus, particularly related to its effect on pregnant women and infants, but there are currently no recommendations specific to pregnant women regarding the evaluation or management of COVID-19.

However, it is important to consider the overall healthcare system and recognize that prenatal care visits and overall access to health services will be more limited during this pandemic. 

For many of our patients, especially those women over the age of 38 or with diminished ovarian reserve, we recognize that every month counts. Therefore, we will be prioritizing restarting egg retrieval cycles for our patients in these categories. At this time, we will not yet be re-initiating embryo transfer cycles.

What does this mean for me?

We greatly appreciate your continued support and patience as we make every effort to resume clinic operations as safely and as seamlessly as possible. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we are also updating our precautionary measures to help keep our patients, providers, and staff healthy and safe.

COVID Screening: All patients are being screened prior to scheduling their initial or baseline ultrasounds by a Spring patient navigator or nurse. Additionally, all patients must re-submit an updated COVID screening questionnaire by 5pm the evening before an in-person appointment via the Portal. If we do not receive an completed questionnaire, we will have to reschedule the appointment.

Temperature Check: If you are scheduled to come into any of our clinic locations for an appointment, we ask that you take your temperature before you arrive. If you have a fever >100.0⁰F, please let your care team know and do not come into the office. We are also checking our employees’ temperatures at the beginning and end of their shifts. Anyone with an elevated temperature will be sent home.

Personal Protective Equipment: Please bring your own mask to all appointments. Masks help protect you and are mandatory for treatment and workers at essential businesses.  For the safety of our patients and our team, we’re requiring all Spring team members to wear masks in all care settings, at all times.

Social Distancing:  As we resume operations, we will do so at a reduced capacity. We have extended appointment times to minimize any unnecessary in-person interaction between patients. We will limit the number of patients in the waiting areas at any given time to accommodate the recommended six feet of physical distancing, and we are asking for all patients to avoid bringing guests (including partners) to monitoring visits.

Staffing: We have implemented a “Doctor of the Week” staffing model through the duration of Shelter in Place. When you come into the office for an appointment, you may see a physician other than your primary Spring provider for treatment. Please rest assured that your Spring doctor, nurse, and patient navigator are still your care team and will be available to answer any questions or address any concerns that you may have. We have also taken the additional precaution of splitting our clinic staff into two teams to minimize and contain risk of spread if there were a coronavirus exposure.

Telehealth: We will continue to rely on video and teleconferencing to complete initial consultations as well as any appointments that do not require an ultrasound, bloodwork, or a surgical procedure.

We are doing everything in our power to keep both our patients and staff healthy, safe, and advancing towards their goals. Nothing that we do would be possible without the immense trust that you place in us, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you.

 

In health and fertility,

Your Spring Family

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