Update: Dec. 23, 2020
Dear Penn Fertility Patient,
With the FDA's emergency authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 and Moderna vaccines, we understand that you may have many questions, and so we wanted to share an update based on what we know now.
How will the vaccine be rolled out?
In this first phase, vaccines will be administered to health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. It will only be provided to hospitals for health care workers initially.
Health departments and large pharmacy companies are expected to administer vaccines to nursing homes. Essential workers will follow, and then the vaccines will become available to the general population. It is expected that the general population will have vaccine access based on age and medical conditions that place a person at higher risk from infection.
At this time, we do not yet know what role Penn Medicine hospitals and practices will have, if any, in the distribution of vaccines to patients.
Where can I get more information?
We have created a webpage with information about COVID-19 vaccines at Penn Medicine. This site will be updated frequently, as details and plans change, so check it often.
What does this mean for me as a Penn Fertility Care patient?
We have received many questions from patients considering COVID vaccination. In accordance with statements from several national organizations (including the CDC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine), we are encouraging our patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. We don't yet know when patients will be able to receive the vaccine and what role Penn Medicine and other hospitals will play in the distribution of the vaccine to patients.
The following excerpts have been taken from the recent statement published by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine:
- Patients undergoing fertility treatment should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.
- Recent studies have suggested that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Furthermore, many women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy have additional risk factors such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes which may further increase the chance of severe disease from COVID-19 infection. These considerations should be included in decisions regarding vaccination.
- Because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not composed of live virus, they are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies. It should be noted that pregnant and lactating women were excluded from the initial phase III trials of these two vaccines, so specific safety data in these populations are not yet available and further studies are planned.
- Patients who conceive in the window between the first and second dose of the vaccine should be offered the second dose of the vaccine at the appropriate interval.
View the full ASRM guidance >
Please check our COVID Vaccine website and FAQs for the most up-to-date information about the vaccines. Reach out to your physician if you have additional questions.
The Penn Fertility Care Team
Update: Nov. 24, 2020
Dear Penn Fertility Patient,
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on you and your family. Due to the recent surge in cases, many of us have had to modify or cancel our holiday plans to keep our friends and families safe. Similarly, our clinical practice has had to make significant adjustments to maximize the safety of our patients and staff while continuing to provide fertility and gynecologic care. We want to assure you that we intend to keep our offices open as long as we have a full complement of healthy staff.
However, we have established the following processes to maximize safety and mitigate risk:
- We will continue to offer consultations via Telehealth.
- In-person visits will be offered only to patients who require testing or treatments.
- We recommend minimizing the number of in person visits. Some suggestions include:
- Use of home ovulation kits to time IUI procedures whenever possible.
- Minimizing the number of pregnancy ultrasounds when developing normally.
- Home semen collection for semen analyses when possible.
- Please be flexible with appointment times as visits must be spaced throughout the day to minimize crowding. We ask that you do not arrive early for your appointments.
- No visitors are allowed. Please review our latest visitor guidelines for more details.
- All patients and staff are required to wear a face mask and undergo temperature screening before their visit. If you experience fevers or cough, or have had exposure to a person with confirmed COVID-19, please inform us before coming in.
- COVID-19 testing will be performed prior to surgical procedures.
- If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, your treatment cycle will be canceled.
We recognize that your treatment may have been postponed for many weeks already. You are not alone. Please be aware that IVF delays are also related to the required embryology laboratory closure in December. We are actively working on ways to expand access to treatments for our patients in a manner that optimizes safety. Our clinicians and nurses are available for a telehealth consultation to discuss your treatment options.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during these difficult times.
The Penn Fertility Care Team