6 April 2020

COVID-19 has led to my treatment being suspended. What can I do?

Mireia Galian
CONSULTANT GYNAECOLOGIST
Mireia Galian
IVI London

 

This article was originally posted on 6 April 2020 in response to the developing COVID-19 situation. As of May 2020, all fertility treatment resumed safely at IVI London with enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Read our latest COVID-19 FAQs here.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, licensed fertility clinics have been given an order to pause treatments until further notice. If you have been affected by this, please remember:

  • It is normal to feel anxious, frustrated and angry.
  • We will give you tips to help you overcome this situation, so you can resume your  treatment in the best physical shape and state of mind.
  • Our experienced counsellors can provide you with online consultations to ease your stress, offering a neutral and non-judgemental environment to share your emotions.

COVID-19 and assisted reproduction

The outbreak of Coronavirus has disrupted everyone’s life. For the first time, we see ourselves isolated, adopting social distancing, and giving up those small pleasures of our daily life. At IVI, we are very aware of the special circumstances our patients are experiencing and how stressful, frustrating and painful it is “press pause” on your fertility journey. We are also very sorry that this has happened, as we understand your desire to build a family and the effort it has taken for you to get where you are.

I feel really distressed. Is this normal?

You may feel anxious, frustrated or angry at this time. You may feel that this situation isn’t fair or that it was really just your “bad luck”. While it is very normal to think and feel like this, don’t let yourself get wrapped up in negative emotions during what is an already emotionally-challenging time. It is important to remember that this decision has been made in unprecedented circumstances. Although the measures might be perceived as radical to some, they are to ensure patients’ safety, social responsibility and most importantly, the best possible conditions for your pregnancy and your future baby.

What can I do until I can restart the treatment? 

At this time, we are experiencing a global health issue and although this difficult situation is temporary, much to our regret we have been forced to our lives on hold. Nonetheless, every cloud has a silver lining and we now have the opportunity to make the most of this particular setback and get ready to resume treatment, refreshed and in a better state of health.

Here are some useful tips on how to best cope with these difficult circumstances:

  • Lots of negative thoughts are likely to enter your mind. “If only I’d done it earlier…”, “Will this affect our chances to conceive?”, “What if we run out of time?”, “What if our financial situation changes?”. When trying to process all these thoughts at once, it can be extremely overwhelming at what is already a very uncertain time. Anticipating what will or won’t happen in the future will only increase your anxiety and the harsh reality is that these thoughts will not help you in any way. Try to focus on the present: the here and now. The future will come and the past is already gone. Prepare yourself for these thoughts and try to focus your emotions on living each day in the best possible way. Finding activities you enjoy as well as planning and organising your daily routine can help by giving you structure and purpose.
  • You might be worrying that you’re running out of time. If you feel that the clock is ticking (loudly), with worries about your ovarian reserve, your egg quality or your chances of having a successful implantation, none of these will change significantly in the space of a few months. Try to regularly remind yourself that this situation is temporary and stay calm knowing it is out of your control. This can help to silence that ticking clock.
  • Make the most of this time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, rest, practice meditation, invest your spare time to do those little things that we don’t allow ourselves to do when the pace of life is too fast. How many times have we thought “If I had time I would…”? Now, you have it. Enjoy!
  • Protect yourself and your loved ones by:
    • Washing your hands.
    • Staying at home.
    • Wearing a face covering.
    • Self-isolating if you or someone you have been in contact with has been infected by the virus.
  • Look after your diet and try to stay active. It is common for anxiety (and boredom) to prompt us to eat more and self-soothe with sugary of fatty comfort foods. Try to keep a balanced diet and get creative: now, you may have more time to cook tasty healthy recipes, which will also help you to make your daily life less monotonous.
  • Acknowledge your feelings, embrace them and share them with your partner. Sharing is caring. It is very likely that they are going through similar emotions and they may also need someone to talk to. Sharing your feelings with close relatives or friends might also be helpful.
  • Keep your mind busy as much as possible. Now is a time where community is needed. If you are able to volunteer or be part of community initiatives in your area, it might be a good time to get involved. Caring for others and helping out can change the focus of your feelings and make you feel better.

What if this is not enough? 

At IVI, we count on experienced counsellors who can offer you support during these difficult times. A counsellor is meant to be a friendly figure who can provide you with the assistance, help and tools to cope with the issues that have been raised by these extraordinary times we are living in. For more information, contact us.

These are certainly difficult times for all of us. Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. Well… Let’s make the most of this time to take care of ourselves, to learn and grow and to get ready to start a family. We will continue to monitor the situation and suggest recommendations to help you. So, stay tuned and always keep in mind that “The best is yet to come”.

#WeWillWeatherTheStorm #LetsGetThroughThisTogether 

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