(Updated: 12 October 2022)
We have put together a list of frequently asked questions to reassure and guide you. We will continue to update this page as information becomes available or changes, but if your question has not been answered below and you still have questions, please contact us by emailing [email protected].
COVID-19 test FAQS
Q: Can I have a Covid-19 vaccine during my fertility treatment?
Yes. The British Fertility Society guidance states that although you should have the vaccine, you may wish to consider the timing of having it during your fertility treatment, taking into account that some people may get bothersome side effects in the few days after vaccination that they do not want to have during treatment. It may be sensible to separate the date of vaccination by a few days from some treatment procedures (for example, egg collection in IVF), so that any symptoms, such as fever, might be attributed correctly to the vaccine or the treatment procedure. Your medical team will be able to advise you about the best time for your situation.
Q: Should I delay my fertility treatment until after I have had a Covid-19 vaccine?
The only reason to consider delaying fertility treatment until after you have been vaccinated would be if you wanted to be protected against Covid-19 before you were pregnant.
Q: How soon after having a Covid-19 vaccine can I start my fertility treatment?
Professionals have said you can begin immediately after your vaccine and that you do not need to delay your fertility treatment.
Q: I am donating my eggs/sperm for the use of others. Can I still have a Covid-19 vaccine?
Yes. Covid-19 vaccines do not contain any virus and so you cannot pass on Covid-19 by receiving the vaccine. The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority have stated that you must allow at least 7 days from the most recent vaccination prior to donating eggs or sperm. If the donor feels unwell after the vaccination, they must not donate for 7 days after their symptoms have got better.
Q: I’ve just found out I’m pregnant. Should I have a COVID-19 vaccine?
The NHS strongly recommend that you get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you’re pregnant to protect you and your baby. The antibodies your body produces in response to the vaccine can also give your baby protection against COVID-19.
You’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk. Evidence shows that most pregnant women with COVID-19 who need hospital treatment or intensive care in the UK have not been vaccinated.
If you’re pregnant and have not had your first 2 doses and booster dose yet, it’s important to get your vaccinations as soon as possible. If you’re pregnant and have been vaccinated, you should have a seasonal booster dose.
It’s safe to have the vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth.
For more information, please visit the NHS, and HFEA websites and Public Health England.
Q: If I am required to take a Covid-19 test, how do I get a test?
A: If you are having IVF treatment you will be required to do a coronavirus (COVID-19) Lateral Flow Test (LFT) on the day of your trigger injection (or the day before if this is a Saturday) – you will be supplied with an LFT test free-of-charge by your nursing team at your final scan.
For all other testing, COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests (LFT) should be sourced yourself from the NHS online service or local pharmacy stores. We request that your test result should be registered with the NHS using the QR code on the test.
You can order tests via the NHS website.
Q: What happens if I test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19?
If you, your partner or a member or your household test positive, we may need to cancel your treatment or procedure. It is important that you contact the nursing team as soon as possible to discuss this.
If you, your partner or a member or your household start to have symptoms of COVID-19 ahead of a procedure or treatment, we advise that you carry out a Lateral Flow Test (LFT). If negative, no further action is required, but we ask that you wear a mask until symptoms resolve and repeat testing if your symptoms continue.
Should you or your partner present as symptomatic at the clinic, our team will ask you to do a Lateral Flow Test (LFT).
If you develop symptoms after egg collection but before embryo replacement, we will ask you to freeze all of your embryos and have an embryo replacement once you are fully recovered. To protect all our patients and staff, we will not treat anyone with an active COVID-19 infection until they are fully recovered.
The clinic and COVID-19
Q. How has Covid-19 affected NHS funding for fertility investigations or IVF?
All fertility treatments were initially suspended on 23 March 2020 (including NHS funded treatment) along with other NHS funded elected procedures. From week commencing 11 May 2020, fertility clinics, who meet the HFEA criteria and were approved to restart treatments, could begin to re-open subject to strict safety guidelines enforced by the HFEA.
To ensure fair provision, the Health and Social Care Secretary wrote to all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to confirm they are in a position to begin resuming fertility treatments for those in their area with their currently approved providers. He made it clear that all fertility patients should be dealt with fairly and not face any additional disadvantage as a result of the service suspension.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on fertility treatment was discussed in a report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) published in May 2022. It highlighted that fewer IVF patients had experienced delays to treatment during the pandemic than it first anticipated, but that the NHS is still impacted with delays in referrals.
You can read the full report here.
Q: How do I access the fertility e-consents system?
When your consultation was confirmed you would have been sent an email with a link and information regarding logging into the e-consents system. You need to follow the appropriate clinic link and enter your medical ID (this is your Bourn Hall medical number and not your NHS number) and your password. Clinic links:
NB: Unsure which link to use? The safest rule is to go by your case number – if your number starts BN, you are Norwich; BW – Wickford; and no prefix, so just a number, then Cambridge.
Q: What support are you offering patients?
We know that struggling to conceive is emotional challenging, and that many patients feel their anxiety about fertility treatment has been amplified by the pandemic situation. We want all our patients to be able to access much-needed support during this truly difficult and uncertain time.
Our dedicated fertility nurses are available to support you and advice. Our nurses can also refer you to our independent fertility counsellors who are offering appointments by telephone or online via video platforms such as Skype, or you can join our Fertility Support Group meetings which are currently being held virtually.
One of our counsellors has also written several blogs to support your physical and emotional wellbeing including advice about coping with uncertainty to help you process your emotions and prepare for when treatment resumes.
While you are waiting to start your treatment you can do positive things to get ‘fertility fit’ so you are in the best position possible when your treatment starts – take a look at our blog for advice on improving your fertility at home.