Confused about how you can access infertility treatments during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Well, so were we, but we listened to the community, asked doctors in the field and looked at how states were treating medical care. The most frequent question was around clinic closures and how to communicate with your doctor or clinic.
How come clinics in some states are open and clinics in other states are closed?
State regulations are forcing many clinics to close. It has nothing to do with how the Governor views infertility as a disease or IVF as medically necessary, but applies to most medical care in a particular state. Each state is different and how they define what is allowed to be open and what is not. For example, some states say that ambulatory surgical centers that are not performing emergency care must close; turns out some IVF practices are in fact ambulatory surgical centers, but some are not.
If your clinic is part of a hospital, they will have to adhere to what the hospital is allowing in terms of care as hospitals are deploying most of their resources to COVID-19 patients.
Some clinics are closed because the doctors and/or staff may have COVID-19 and do not want to pass it on to any patients.
Some clinics are closed because their staff may be concerned about contracting COVID-19 from their patients and want to be sure they have systems in place to protect everyone and safely treat patients in a COVID-19 environment.
Some clinics are closed because they are in the midst of re-tooling their practice to safely serve patients in a COVID-19 environment.
What can I say, do, or ask when it comes to my doctor or IVF practice?
Ask your doctor for a telehealth appointment. Use that appointment to plan out your treatment plan.
Ask your doctor if your state has any regulations preventing them from caring for you.
Find out what medical procedures they are performing and if they can treat you.
If they are seeing patients for some procedures, ask them what criteria they are using and how your diagnosis fits within their criteria.
If they are NOT seeing any patients and the state does not have a regulation preventing them from seeing patients, ask them when they plan to re-open and how they will handle patients – most importantly you – when they open.
Remember, you are your own best advocate. You have a right to ask these questions and you have a right to discuss your care with your doctor.