RCC Position on Vaccination During Fertility Treatment and Pregnancy

There have been many questions and concerns regarding the COVID vaccine in relation to fertility and safety during pregnancy.  Many doses of the vaccine have been administered and safety data continues to be analyzed.  Your physician and nursing teams have been keeping up to date with the recommendations and directing you to the credible sources of information that are both reliable and accurate.

There has been much fear mongering regarding vaccine safety for those who are attempting to become pregnant and those who are pregnant.  The clear consensus is that women hoping to become pregnant and those who are pregnant need to be protected from COVID Virus, not COVID Vaccine.  Vaccine technology has been around since the late 18th century and mRNA vaccines are the next evolution in this technology.  Other vaccines will use a weakened or inactivated germ in our bodies to cause an immune response.  mRNA vaccine technology simply teaches the cells of the body how to make a protein (either in whole or in part) in order to trigger an immune response in our bodies.  The benefit of this is that a person can gain protection/immunity without risking the serious consequences of becoming sick with COVID-19.

It is the position of the RCC Physicians that patients follow the recommendations of trusted governing bodies such as the Centre for Disease Control.  In keeping with this, we recommend that patients proceed with obtaining the COVID vaccine whether undergoing fertility treatments, are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

The most up to date information can be found on the Centre for Disease Control Website. 

The full statement can be found at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html

Here is a simple summary of the important points and facts.

The Delta Variant

  • The Delta variant is highly contagious, in fact, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants
  • The Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people
  • Unvaccinated people remain of greatest concern for greatest risk of infection, transmission, and severe illness
  • Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to other people
  • Fully vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time

COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding – updated October 7th 2021

What You Need to Know

  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
  • Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
    • No safety concerns were identified in animal studies
    • No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes occurred in previous clinical trials
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infection, including in pregnant people or their babies 
  • Vaccination of pregnant people builds antibodies that might protect their baby 
  • There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.

If you are pregnant and have questions about COVID-19 vaccine

If you would like to speak to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, you can contact MotherToBaby. MotherToBaby experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish by phone or chat. The free and confidential service is available Monday–Friday 8am–5pm (local time). To reach MotherToBaby:


Statement of the 3rd Pandemic Response from the Ontario fertility medical directors – April 27th 2021

The Ontario fertility medical directors recognize the impact of Covid-19 infection in pregnancy. We share in the acute concerns of our frontline colleagues and health care policy planners across the province.

Fertility service providers have successfully dealt with the pandemic over the past year, screening staff and patients before entering, seeing patients in PPE, maintaining social distancing, and minimizing patient/health care provider encounters to only those that are essential to provide care; and this has resulted in no known outbreaks of spread among staff and patients within our clinics.  In addition, virtually all of our staff have been either fully vaccinated or have received the first dose.  We have demonstrated that following PPE guidelines our practices can run safely with minimal risk to patients and staff.

There is an extremely low risk of significant complications from fertility treatment requiring care in a hospital, and thus our treatments pose no significant burden on the human and health resources needed to deliver essential and urgent health services across Ontario.

All regulatory bodies, including the SOGC, continue to endorse pregnancy, without restriction. But unlike the broader population, fertility patients require timely access to fertility procedures to achieve their family planning goals. It is also important to note that pregnancies resulting from infertility treatment make up less than 2% of all pregnancies in Ontario.

It is widely recognized that access to fertility care is a reproductive right and an essential service.  In this context, we have carefully considered the question of continuing to provide fertility treatment services in the context of Dr William’s CMOH Directive #2 update, distributed last week.

Proportionality.Decisions to postpone non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures should be proportionate to the real or anticipated capacity needed to maintain the health and human resources to deliver essential and urgent health services across the system.”

It is our collective assessment that the real or anticipated impact that fertility services have on the health care system overall is insignificant. It is exceedingly rare for an infertility patient to experience a treatment related complication that would necessitate hospitalization or management by the health care system.  Simply put, our patients are not a burden to the health care system, our facilities do not draw resources away from the health care system, and our human resources, and competency, are likely not useable in acute care settings.

Minimizing Harm to Patients. Decisions should strive to limit harm to patients. Surgeries and procedures that have higher implications for morbidity/mortality if delayed for longer periods of time should be prioritized over those with fewer implications for morbidity/mortality if delayed for a longer period of time. This requires considering the differential benefits and burdens to patients and patient populations as well as available alternatives to manage symptoms and relieve pain and suffering.

The emotional issues surrounding reproduction are extremely complex and further complicated by the physiologic limitations of female age and declining fertility. The emotional burden of delaying fertility treatments in fertility patients is substantial and long lasting. The frustration of time lost and opportunities lost is beyond measure. Based on real data from studies carried out when services were abruptly stopped in early 2020, another cessation of the provision of fertility services will cause significant emotional and psychological harm to the fertility community, without any measurable impact on relieving burdens to our health care system

Equity. Equity requires that all persons with the same clinical needs should

be treated in the same way unless relevant differences exist (e.g., different levels of clinical urgency), and that special attention is paid to actions that might further disadvantage the already disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Patients suffering from infertility have long been marginalized by the health care system and society at large. Through the work of countless fertility organizations we have made tremendous improvements in access to care and social acceptance of infertility. However negative perceptions still persist. Cessation of care to this vulnerable population would further disadvantage our patients with no clear anticipated benefit to our health care system.

Reciprocity. Certain patients and patient populations may be particularly burdened as a result of deferring non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures. Patients should have the ability to have their health monitored, receive appropriate alternative care, and receive surgical or procedural care if their medical condition changes and their need becomes urgent or emergent.

To use the language of the directive our “patients would be particularly burdened by deferring” fertility services. Our patients are clear that continuing to have access to care is a priority for them.  Each case is unique, and every patient deserves to make informed choices. Urgency, however, is a defining condition of the infertile patient, as the diagnosis is based on the passage of time

All four elements of the suggested rubric support ongoing access to fertility-related procedures.

In summary, access to fertility care remains an essential service. Through the past year there have been no outbreaks of Covid in any fertility setting. We will continue to offer best practices for the safety of all our patients and staff.

The overwhelming sentiment from our fertility patients is that they wish to continue treatment for family planning and building.   Ceasing treatment will certainly cause significant distress and can have long-lasting implications. As stated above, treating our patients is not a burden to the health care system and our facilities do not draw resources away from the health care system.

We feel that the most significant opportunity we can provide for our patients is access to vaccination prior to, and during pregnancy…at the earliest stage of pregnancy possible. We are well resourced to provide testing access, as well as promote vaccination services for all of our active patients.

We recognize too that unvaccinated patients with pre-existing conditions now face specific risks within a strained healthcare system. For some, fertility preservation (rather than pregnancy) may be the right choice. In addition, clinics may decide at this time, and/or in the future, to limit access to certain procedures, or to certain patient groups, based on clinical assessment and medical judgement.

In this way, working together, the fertility clinics of Ontario will continue in our support of essential reproductive care for all Ontarians.


Screening and Safety Measures in place at RCC

During the province-wide State of Emergency, RCC remains open with rigid screening and safety protocols in place in order to protect our patients and continue to provide essential fertility treatments.

Your RCC team asks you to please continue your monitoring, medications and appointments as instructed by your health care team.  Please abide by all provincial health health regulations

Modifications to our Clinic :

  • There will be an additional consent form to sign acknowledging the COVID-19 clinic protocols and risks.
  • We are limiting the use of our waiting room at this time, instead patients will be asked to wait in their cars if required.
  • Medical appointments with your doctor and nurses will continue to be virtual. Please call 905-816-9822 x 0 or follow the prompts to contact us if you need to book an appointment. We can also be reached by email info@rccfertility.com .
  • We will be contacting you by phone or email as much as possible to limit the need for in person appointments.
  • At this time, only the person having a procedure will be permitted in the clinic. If you have a partner and they are providing a sample for the procedure, they will be instructed to drop off the sample at the front desk.
  • We are booking all sperm sample appointments (i.e. for IUI or IVF) as drop off only at this time. If you live farther than 60 minutes away, you will be booked in a private room at the clinic.
  • If you have an upcoming funded IVF cycle but you are not comfortable starting treatment due to COVID-19, we will hold your spot in the queue. Please call us when you feel ready to start your funded cycle.
  • Medication pick-up: We continue to dispense medications on-site and can be picked up by appointment only. Medications are available for pick up from Monday-Friday from 7am-3pm and Saturdays from 7am-12pm.

Additional Services : 

  • Naturopath and Acupuncture Services:  Dr. Victoria Resendes continues to provide a range of naturopathic services to improve fertility outcomes. Please click here for more information.
  • Counselling and Support : RCC continues to have counsellors available for counselling. Click here for more information.

Screening:

  • You will be screened for COVID-19 via phone by a member of our team prior to booking any in person appointments.
  • You will have additional daily screening in person when you check in for your appointment, including having your temperature taken when you arrive.

Social Distancing:

  • For your safety, we must limit the number of people in the clinic.
  • For each visit, you will be assigned an appointment time to come to the clinic. It is important you arrive at your appointment time to avoid any congestion in the clinic. If you are not here on time for your appointment, we will have to reschedule your appointment. All visits to the clinic must be by appointment only.
  • Only the person receiving treatment can come into the clinic. Unfortunately, partners and family members are not permitted in the clinic at this time.

Personal Protection:

  • You will be asked to wear a mask (PPE) provided by RCC while you are at the clinic.
  • Please maintain respiratory etiquette and use the hand sanitizer provided throughout the clinic and sanitize your hands frequently during your visit.
  • Our staff will be wearing all the required PPE.
  • Our staff will be sanitizing high touch areas regularly throughout the day and have regular deep cleaning procedures in place.
  • Plexi glass barriers have been installed at screening stations and reception areas.
  • Please see below for our current vaccine recommendations.

A message from our Medical Director about the COVID19 Vaccine – April 20th 2021

Dear RCC family,

On April 15th 2021, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologist of Canada (SOGC) called on the Ontario government and all other provinces to immediately prioritize women who are more than 20 weeks pregnant for COVID-19 vaccination:

All pregnant women in Canada should be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. According to SOGC members, there is currently a daily wave of pregnant women coming into Ontario ICUs, many requiring ventilators. These women are getting extremely sick, very quickly. Pregnant women who have COVID-19 appear more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care than women who aren’t pregnant. Providing ventilator support in pregnancy is more challenging, and the risks are greater to both mother and child. Pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to have a miscarriage, premature birth, and caesarean delivery, and their babies are more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit.

There are certain factors that can put you at greater risk from COVID-19 while pregnant. These include:

  • Being at the front lines or in a community outbreak situation
  • Age > 35 years
  • Obesity (BMI >30)
  • Pre-pregnancy high blood pressure
  • Pre-pregnancy diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease

Pregnancy is now part of the Phase Two Vaccine Initiative. Pregnancy falls under the ‘Health Conditions ‘at risk’ category:

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/ontarios-covid-19-vaccination-plan

For those considering the COVID-19 vaccination, our current advice at RCC is to educate yourself with the resources provided below at the end of this update. That being said, the position statement from the SOGC gives specific recommendations to pregnant women who are at high risk of COVID- 19 exposure and complications – this should be considered when contemplating vaccination so an individual can make an informed choice.  In making a decision about whether to get vaccinated, each individual should weigh the risk vs. benefit. Your doctors and nurses at RCC are here to help you navigate these decisions.

There are currently four approved COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech; Moderna; AstraZenecaOxford; and Johnson and Johnson Janssen. However, to date, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the two vaccine options that have been most studied in the pregnant, breastfeeding, and infertile population. Data will likely be forthcoming on the safety of the latter two vaccines in these patient populations.

There is some emerging evidence that certain vaccines (such as Astra Zeneca and Johnson and Johnson Janssen) may be associated with a very rare risk of blood clots and this is being widely publicized in the news. It is likely that the risks associated with COVID-19 infection are significantly greater than any potential risk associated with the vaccines. For this reason, the benefit of vaccination for most individuals far exceeds the risk. When deciding which vaccination products will be used in a given patient population, national and regional guidelines will prevail.

If you are not pregnant yet, it is likely that the benefit of getting vaccinated far outweighs any risk and we recommend that you get vaccinated if you have the chance. These vaccines were not specifically studied in pregnant or breastfeeding individuals and for that reason we cannot comment on the specific risks in this population. We also are learning more every day about the risks of COVID-19 infection in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Although we cannot say anything with certainty, it is very likely that the benefit of vaccination will outweigh the risk in this population as well.

Prior to vaccination, all of the vaccination centers offer information about the vaccines and screen individuals for contraindications to vaccination. If you have an allergy to one of the components of the vaccine or if you have had a previous adverse reaction to vaccination, please discuss this with the vaccination center.

If you are interested in reading more about the COVID-19 vaccination, please see the following resources and feel free to book an appointment to talk to your medical team:

https://www.pregnancyinfo.ca/covid/#safety

https://sogc.org/common/Uploaded%20files/Latest%20News/SOGC_Statement_COVID-19_Vaccination_in_Pregnancy.pdf

https://www.pcmch.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/COVID-19-Vaccine-Infographic-2021_03_08.pdf

 STAY STRONG. STAY WELL. STAY HOPEFUL. 

Regards,

 Shannon Corbett

Medical Director & Partner, The Reproductive Care Centre M.D.,

Division of Women’s Health, Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital Clinical Faculty, Lecturer, The University of Toronto


RCC REMAINS OPEN – April 12 2021

Rest assured that RCC will remain open as the stay at home order and other non essential services shutdown will not impact fertility clinics.
We are authorized to remain open and can continue to provide fertility services and treatments to our patients.
Our rigorous safety protocols are in place and we ask that you continue your monitoring, medications and appointments with RCC according to the directions provided by the team.
Your safety and well being remain of utmost importance to us,
Stay Safe

Your Reproductive Care Center Team


Covid-19 Vaccine when pregnant or breastfeeding – March 8th 2021

For many people, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the safest choice but it is YOUR CHOICE.

Clinical trials for these vaccines did not include people who were pregnant or breastfeeding.

The information below will help you make an informed choice about if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Find out more

RCC REMAINS OPEN – January 13th 2021

Rest assured that RCC will remain open as the province wide shutdown that will come into effect January 15th 2021 will not impact fertility clinics.

Following the announcement on January 12th 2021 from Doug Ford , we are authorized to remain open and can continue to provide fertility services and treatments to our patients. Our rigorous safety protocols are in place and we ask that you continue your monitoring, medications and appointments with RCC according to the directions provided by the team.

Your safety and well being remain of utmost importance to us,

Stay Safe

Your Reproductive Care Center Team


A message from our Medical Director about the COVID19 Vaccine-January 7 2021

Dear RCC family, 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologist of Canada (SOGC) have a Summary Statement with new data on severity of COVID-19 infections in women who are pregnancy and offer a perspective on the COVID vaccine:

https://sogc.org/common/Uploaded%20files/Latest%20News/SOCG_Statement_COVID-19_Vaccination_in_Pregnancy.pdf

For those considering the COVID-19 vaccination, our current advice is to follow the recommendations from Public Health. That being said, the position statement from the SOGC gives specific recommendations to pregnant women who are at high risk of COVID- 9 exposure and complications – this should be considered when contemplating vaccination so an individual can make an informed choice.  In making a decision about whether to get vaccinated, each individual should weigh the risk vs. benefit. 

All of the current data suggests that both vaccines that are currently available are considered very safe. It is likely that the risks associated with COVID-19 infection are significantly greater than any potential risk associated with the vaccines. For this reason, the benefit of vaccination for most individuals far exceeds the risk. If you are not pregnant yet, it is likely that the benefit of getting vaccinated far outweighs any risk and we recommend that you get vaccinated if you have the chance. These vaccines were not specifically studied in pregnant or breastfeeding individuals and for that reason we cannot comment on the specific risks in this population. We also are learning more every day about the risks of COVID-19 infection in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Although we cannot say anything with certainty, it is very likely that the benefit of vaccination will outweigh the risk in this population as well. 

Prior to vaccination, all of the vaccination centers offer information about the vaccines and screen individuals for contraindications to vaccination. If you have an allergy to one of the components of the vaccine or if you have had a previous adverse reaction to vaccination, please discuss this with the vaccination center. If you are interested in reading more about the COVID-19 vaccination, please see the statement from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada as noted above. 

 

STAY STRONG. STAY WELL. STAY HOPEFUL. 

Regards,

Dr. Shannon Corbett

Medical Director & Partner, The Reproductive Care Centre

M.D., Division of Women’s Health, Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital

Clinical Faculty, Lecturer, The University of Toronto

RCC Remains OPEN !

RCC will remain open as the November 23rd lockdown does not include fertility clinics, medical offices or doctors offices.

Your safety, well being and health are important to us.

For more information on how we are keeping you safe read the notice below :

RCC Notice Regarding Health and Safety  Protocols – November 20th 2020

Coronavirus – COVID 19 Update – To maintain staff and patient health and follow social distancing guidelines

Fertility issues are medical and like many medical conditions, it is prudent to continue treatments as safely as possible since there is a timeline that effects prognosis. As we approach higher numbers of COVID cases amidst the pandemic, we will be altering our monitoring process at the clinic to reduce exposure risks.

All investigational, natural intercourse/IUI, letrozole intercourse/IUI cycles will have reduced monitoring at RCC (LH kits will be used at home, ultrasounds and bloodwork will be minimized). Our medical team will guide you through these changes and ensure your care is not compromised.

Along with these changes, we will ask for all patients who are scheduled for a sonohysterogram or obstetrical ultrasound to wait in the car until called into the clinic to aid in decreasing volume in the waiting room during peak hours.

A reminder to all patients that all visits, ultrasounds and blood tests must be scheduled as we do not allow walk ins. Semen analysis appointments can be booked by going to flowlabs.ca.

We will continue to do all physician consultations by virtual appointment only.

At this time, nursing appointments will also be virtual appointments.

Please note, it is required that anyone entering the clinic is wearing a medical mask.

Everyone will be asked screening questions when booking appointments and prior to entering the clinic. If you answer yes to any of the screening questions, you will not be permitted to enter the clinic at this time and we will call you with next steps. We ask that there are no partners, kids or extra visitors entering the clinic at this time.

Please do not enter the clinic if you have any COVID-19 related symptoms, been in contact with anyone that has COVID-19 related symptoms, been in contact with anyone that has been tested positive for COVID-19, if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results or if you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days. If you answer yes to any of these questions, please self-isolate and visit https://www.publichealthontario.ca/ for more information.

We can be contacted at the clinic 905-816-9822 if you have any questions or concerns.

 

At RCC, your safety and well-being is at the forefront of our minds.

We wish you the best during your fertility journey and during these trying times throughout the pandemic.

We are here for you.

Thank you for your understanding,

The Reproductive Care Centre (RCC)

RCC Notice Regarding Health and Safety  Protocols – October 21st 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on all our daily lives has led us to revamp our patient protocols for in-office visits.  It is important that you read through the following information carefully as each patient will need to follow these guidelines in order to be scheduled and seen in our practice.

Precautions for Preventing the Transmission of Infection at the Reproductive Care Centre:

Health and Safety:

  • Please do not enter the clinic if you have any COVID-19 related symptoms, been in contact with anyone that has COVID-19 related symptoms, been in contact with anyone that has been tested positive for COVID-19, if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results or if you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days. If you answer yes to any of these questions, please self-isolate and visit https://www.publichealthontario.ca/ for more information.
  • Screening will be done prior to any in person appointments and when you check in for your appointment. Your temperature will be checked upon entry to the clinic.
  •   If you do not pass the screening, you will not be allowed to enter the clinic and you will be followed up by phone with instructions.
  • It is required that you wear a mask (medical or non-medical) when you enter the clinic. If you do not have one, the clinic will provide one per patient/per cycle (due to limited supply).
  • Please sanitize your hands on entrance and exit of the clinic.
  • At this time, partners, kids or extra visitors are not permitted to enter the clinic at this time.

COVID-19 Screen Questions:

–  Fever (> 38C), chills, repeated shaking with chills, or feeling feverish
–  Cough (new or chronic exacerbation)
–  Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
–  Runny nose/congestion (new or chronic exacerbation), sore throat
–  New loss of sense of smell/taste

–  Fatigue, loss of appetite or diarrhea
–  Muscle pain
–  If you have been contact with anyone that has had a positive test result for COVID-19 or is awaiting test results
–  If you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days

Physical Distancing

  • Maintain 2m distancing – tape on the floor to outline acceptable areas to stand.
  • There will be assigned seating in the waiting room.
  • There will be staggered appointment times
  • Our Information Sessions will be conducted virtually
  • We have installed Plexiglas barriers
  • Dedicated patient-only washrooms
  • 2nd level of clinic is closed
  • Please note: The clinic has the same protocols for cancelled cycles in light of COVID-19. The clinic will not be responsible for fees for service already provided and medication refunds. The clinic staff have the right to deny access or cycle cancellation based on the clinic screening protocol.

 

Our clinic hours will be 7am-3pm, Monday-Friday and 7:30-12pm on Saturday. The clinic is closed on Sunday, but we will be monitoring the main line clinic phone for any urgent messages.

  • Please arrive on time for your appointment.
  • Only patients are allowed in clinic – no visitors, kids, or partners.
  • All physician consultations will continue to be virtual appointments.
  • In clinic visits are by appointment only – No drop-ins.
  • Medication pick up is by appointment only- No drop ins
  • Bloodwork: Only cycle monitoring and beta bloodwork done at the clinic – New patient bloodwork must be done at an outside lab.

RCC Notice Regarding Treatment Protocols for Re-Opening – May 2020

The team at RCC is pleased to announce that we will be re-opening our clinic to patient care on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.  The impact of COVID-19 on all our daily lives has led us to revamp our patient protocols for in-office visits.  It is important that you read through the following information carefully as each patient will need to follow these guidelines in order to be scheduled and seen in our practice.  We truly look forward to seeing each and everyone one of you soon.

 

Precautions for Preventing the Transmission of Infection at the Reproductive Care Centre:

Health and Safety:

Screening will be done over the phone 24-hours prior to your appointment and when you check in for your appointment. Your temperature will be checked upon entry to the clinic.

If you do not pass the screening, you will not be allowed to enter the clinic and you will be followed up by phone with instructions.

It is required that you wear a mask (medical or non-medical) when you enter the clinic. If you do not have one, the clinic will provide one per patient/per cycle (due to limited supply) for purchase.

Please sanitize your hands on entrance and exit of the clinic.

COVID-19 Screen Questions:

24-Hours prior to your appointment you will be contacted and asked if you have any of the following:

–  Fever (> 38C), chills, repeated shaking with chills, or feeling feverish
–  Cough (new or chronic exacerbation)
–  Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
–  Runny nose/congestion (new or chronic exacerbation), sore throat
–  New loss of sense of smell/taste
–  Muscle pain
–  A family member/or close work colleague that has COVID19 (or is awaiting test results)
–  A travel history from any country or province with a travel restriction within the last 14 days Limit in Office Traffic

 

Starting May 19, 2020, our clinic hours will be 7am-3pm, Monday-Saturday.

Please arrive on time for your appointment and wait in the car for a phone call with instruction to enter the clinic.

Only patients are allowed in clinic – no visitors, kids, or partners (some exceptions apply).

All physician consultations and nursing appointments will continue to be virtual appointments.

In clinic visits are by appointment only – No drop-ins.

Curb side pickup for medications – call when you arrive to clinic.

Bloodwork: Only cycle monitoring and beta bloodwork done at the clinic – New patient bloodwork must be done at an outside lab.

Physical Distancing

Maintain 2m distancing – tape on the floor to outline acceptable areas to stand.

There will be assigned seating in the waiting room.

There will be staggered appointment times.

Our Information Sessions will be conducted virtually

We have installed Plexiglas barriers

Dedicated patient-only washrooms

2nd level of clinic is closed

Please note: The clinic has the same protocols for cancelled cycles in light of COVID-19. The clinic will not be responsible for fees for service already provided and medication refunds. The clinic staff have the right to deny access or cycle cancellation based on the clinic screening protocol.

 

A Letter To Our Patients – April 27, 2020

Dear Valued Patients,

Alongside all Canadians, RCC has made significant efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve. We acted swiftly and responsibly in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we will likely succeed in minimizing a surge of COVID-19 cases that could be devastating to the hospital system, these efforts also translate on a societal level into a prolonged course of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become apparent that life will not return to ‘normal’ for several remaining months.

At RCC, we feel that is it not reasonable or even possible to continue to suspend fertility treatments. Fertility issues are medical. Like many medical conditions, it is essential to continue treatments as soon as safely possible since there is a timeline that effects prognosis. We are actively planning for a gradual re-opening in mid May 2020, however timelines could be affected by factors beyond our control. In the meantime, we will continue to conduct consultations by phone with the goal of having an updated plan in place to minimize any treatment delays when we are ready to accept you for care.

Careful consideration of the process in which we provide care during this pandemic is essential. We are actively consulting with several regulatory bodies to ensure a safe environment at RCC. Informed consent by patients addressing limitations of the measures we take to reduce but not eliminate risk secondary to COVID-19 is critical. Patients and staff all have unique medical histories and circumstances that must be taken into consideration when deciding who can safely participate in fertility treatment and care at RCC.

I wanted to finish by thanking you all. The physicians at RCC have had unique opportunities to connect with many of you personally during this time. We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s collective support and understanding of the situation at hand. It remains a privilege to have such a strong network of patients and staff that comprise the RCC family. Let it continue to expand as we all work through these trying times. We look forward to working alongside all of you in the very near future.

Please make sure your contact information with RCC is current so that we know how best to reach you. Follow us on our website, rccfertility.com, and our Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Continue to be safe and well,

Dr. Shannon Corbett
Medical Director
The Reproductive Care Centre
905-816-9822

 

ASRM COVID-19 Resources for Patients – May 4, 2020

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine provides continuously updated information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on fertility treatments. You can access their video library, articles and Frequently Asked Questions HERE.

 

Health Canada Advice Regarding COVID-19 and Pregnancy – April 17, 2020

Health Canada has published the following advice for mothers regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on pregnancy, childbirth and caring for newborns. You can read the article HERE.

 

A Letter To Our Patients – March 19, 2020

Dear Valued Patients,

During these unique times, recommendations for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic from our federal and local governments seem to be changing hourly.  On March 15, 2020, the Ontario Medical Association strongly recommended social distancing. They also recommended physicians identify and reduce non-essential visits and temporarily put on hold non-essential care and elective surgery to protect all health-care providers, patients and the public, and most importantly, to manage what is expected to be tremendous demand on the system from spread of the virus. On March 17th, 2020, Ontario declared a state of emergency in order to protect the public. On March 19th, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) recommended that fertility clinics in Canada engage in the following practices:

1. Conduct consultations by telemedicine or phone
2. Complete current IVF cycles but utilizing freeze-all only
3. Suspend all diagnostic and elective procedures and surgeries
4. Postpone any new cycle starts (IUI, IVF, FET), aside from urgent cryopreservation for oncology, until further notice

The Physicians at the Reproductive Care Centre (RCC) carefully reviewed these recommendations and have chosen to follow these guidelines for the safety of our patients, staff and families.  As we have stated in the past, fertility treatments are time sensitive, so your physicians understand it is important that we do everything in our power to complete your cycle within these guidelines.

While taking into consideration that no medical societies are currently recommending to avoid becoming pregnant, small case studies have shown no birth defects to babies born in COVID-19 infected mothers, and there is no documented increased risk to pregnant women, each patient should decide whether they want to cancel their current cycle or proceed with an embryo transfer or intrauterine insemination. Your RCC healthcare team would be happy to discuss your personal fertility journey with you to assist in your decision making process. We hope any cycles that are delayed or cancelled can resume in the next 4-6 weeks. This guidance statement will be revisited at least every two weeks, or as more information becomes available, given that the situation is evolving and changing. Please continue to check our website for regular updates. Additionally, we will continue to monitor our phone lines and our info@rccfertility.com email address, so please email us if you would like to schedule a phone consultation with your physician or when you start your Day 1 so we can confirm if we are able to accept new cycles again.

As of March 19, 2020 the new RCC policy is as follows:

  • Effective immediately we will not start any new treatments or diagnostic cycles (an exception to this rule would be for patients with cancer who need urgent fertility cryopreservation). Patients can be cycled on birth control pills, which will allow them to be able to resume care shortly after the current restrictions are lifted. Please contact the clinic for further information if you are in the midst of a cycle for directives that apply specifically to you.
  • Any established RCC patient who is scheduled to meet with their physician in the near future will be askedto change their appointment to a phone consult, or telemedicine consult, in lieu of an in-person consultation. Please understand this policy is in place to increase social distancing for your and our staff’s wellbeing, and, has become the standard of medical care during this pandemic.  We will continue to offer phone consults throughout the COVID-19 crisis so you are prepared to resume treatment cycles after the current restrictions are lifted.
  • Your RCC front desk, phlebotomy, ultrasound and nursing teams will need to be in the offices to continue to provide you with exceptional fertility care in these trying times. However, we will also begin to transition staff to work at home as feasible. Your physical care will continue (blood draws, ultrasounds, etc.), but any questions outside of this care will be managed via phone after you leave the office.
  • We also will require that you attend your scheduled appointments alone. Effective immediately, we will not permit anyone to attend the appointment with you, including children.  This is for your safety, and the safety of our patients and employees.
  • For your medical team’s health and your own, please do not come to the clinic if you exhibit signs of COVID-19. The symptoms associated with this virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. These symptoms are consistent with the flu virus. If you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probably case of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness that has travelled in the last 14 days you will not be permitted to enter the clinic. Please contact Telehealth and/or your local public health authority to obtain information on next steps regarding your possible COIVD-19 management. If you are experiencing a medical emergency please call 911.

For any change, your clinical team will keep you informed of your next steps.  RCC understands the emotional and medical toll that cancelling a cycle or delaying treatment can cause patients.  We know that you may find your fertility journey temporarily halted after months of planning, testing, and trying. We truly believe implementing these changes is what is needed for each of us to help flatten the curve.  Please know that we remain committed to your safety, wellbeing, and success on your path to parenthood.  We look forward to resuming treatment at a time that is safe and in the best interests of your future family building goal.

Please make sure your contact information with RCC is current so that we know how best to reach you.  Follow us on our website, rccfertility.com, and our Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Be safe and well,

Dr. Shannon Corbett
Medical Director
The Reproductive Care Centre
905-816-9822