COVID-19 Updates to Our Patients
Aug 20, 2021
UPDATES: COVID-19 Visitor Policy: No visitors for monitoring patients.
Due to recent trends of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bay Area, The Center for Reproductive Health will allow one heathy visitor with a patient for their visits, except monitoring appointments. No visitor will be allowed with IVF/IUI monitoring visits due to space limitations in the waiting area to maintain social distancing. As a reminder, the visitor cannot be a child under the age of 18.
Both patient and visitor need to complete the following:
- Must wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times.
- Pass COVID screening questions.
- Sanitize their hands when they check-in.
Thank you for your patience and help in keeping the community safe during these difficult times.
April 26, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy/Breastfeeding
Although preventive measures (universal masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and prompt testing with isolation and contact tracing) can significantly decrease the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness, the consensus among experts is that only an effective COVID-19 vaccine will end the pandemic. Despite the categorization of pregnancy as a high-risk condition for severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and mortality, pregnancy remains an exclusion for participation in vaccine trials. There was no biological reason for exclusion of pregnant or lactating patients from these trials. Reassuringly, over 30,000 pregnant people have already received the vaccine thus far, and initial analyses indicate no safety concerns (NEJM April 2021).
At UCSF, in alignment with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), we recommend that pregnant patients and patients who are actively trying to conceive receive the COVID-19 vaccines.
If you are actively trying to conceive and are eligible for the vaccine, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccine administration. 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.
Common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches and headaches, which typically occur and resolve within 3 days. If you are undergoing fertility treatments and/or other surgeries or procedures, we recommend you avoid vaccination at least 3 days prior to and 3 days after the procedure, to allow for optimal monitoring of potential symptoms around the time of the procedure.
March 29, 2020
The above link is provided to help our patients understand the vaccine and how it relates to pregnancy.
Click here to view the ASRM patient management and clinical recommendations during the Coronavirus pandemic.
December 16, 2020
COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy/Breastfeeding
Although preventive measures (universal masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and prompt testing with isolation and contact tracing) can significantly decrease the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness, the consensus among experts is that only an effective COVID-19 vaccine will end the pandemic. Despite the categorization of pregnancy as a high-risk condition for severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and mortality, pregnancy remains an exclusion for participation in vaccine trials. There was no biological reason for exclusion of pregnant or lactating patients from these trials.
At UCSF, in alignment with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, we recommend that pregnant patients and patients who are actively trying to conceive have access to COVID-19 vaccines, and that they and their healthcare professional engage in shared decision-making regarding receipt of the vaccine. Counseling should balance available data on vaccine safety, risks to pregnant patients from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and an individual's risk for infection and severe disease. mRNA vaccines, which are the first vaccines available, do not contain a live virus but rather induce humoral and cellular immune response through the use of viral mRNA. The theoretical risk of fetal harm from mRNA vaccines is very low.
If you are actively trying to conceive and are eligible for the vaccine, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts or fertility treatment because of vaccine administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered. 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.
December 1, 2020
UPDATES: COVID-19 Visitor Policy: no visitors at this time
Due to recent trends of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bay Area, The Center for Reproductive Health will be adhering to the UCSF no-visitor policy. For more information, please see the following link: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/for-visitors/visitor-restrictions-due-to-coronavirus. Thank you for your patience and help in keeping the community safe during these difficult times.
July 1, 2020
COVID-19 Visitor Policy: Women’s Health Outpatient Practice
To ensure the safety of our patients and staff, and in compliance with the San Francisco Ordinances on the Limitation of Hospital Visitors, we continue to limit the entrance of visitors to Women’s Health sites and the Birth Center (including Labor and Delivery, Antepartum, OB ED, and Post-Partum). Safety of Patients, providers and staff will guide the day-to-day implementation of the following visitor policy within Women’s Health. Use this document in conjunction with the UCSF Health COVID-19 Guidelines for Visitor Restrictions and Exceptions. Of note- children under the age of 12 will not permitted to be visitors or unsupervised in the waiting areas at UCSF.
UCSF will continue to limit when and where visitors are permitted and asks that only patients with specific caregiving needs bring a visitor with them when seeking medical care.
- General Visitation: Ambulatory patients are not allowed general visitation. Please see allowed visitors below under necessary visitation.
- Necessary Visitation (by approval only): Patients who require a “necessary visitor” are eligible for special visitor exceptions upon approval by unit/clinic leadership. Visitors will need to be approved and screened by the receiving space prior to being allowed entry to the hospital.
- Visitors who fail to comply with the policies below will be restricted from entering the premises
Necessary Visitors for the outpatient setting: Visitors may be allowed as exceptions upon approval by unit/clinic leadership in the special circumstances listed below and with the understanding that the patient and visitor will be masked in the area at all times and if the visitor screens positive (meaning symptomatic, febrile, etc.)- they will not be permitted inside the clinic or clinic waiting area.
The Center for Reproductive Health will allow one visitor (partner or family member) that has been appropriately screened for symptoms related to COVID19 under the following conditions:
- Patient is pursuing a consultation in the setting of newly diagnosed cancer
- Patient has received sedating medications in preparation for a procedure at the center
- Patient requires an essential caregiver due to developmental disability or other medical condition
- Patient is under the age of 18
- Both the patient and visitor will be masked in the area at all times and if the visitor screens positive (meaning symptomatic, febrile, etc.) the visitor will not be permitted into the facility.
April 27, 2020
We hope you are doing well and are staying safe. We truly thank you for your patience during this time as we balance our focus on your care with the urgency of public health needs.
We believe all patients are priority so our goal is to start all patients, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, by the end of June. In May, we will begin diagnostics, schedule the delayed frozen embryo transfers and start stimulation cycles as we implement the new COVID-19 guideline and assure systems are seamless to accomodate the increased patient volume. Thus, as processes for COVID-19 prevention are refined, within the clinic, we will expand our patient volume to accomodate all of you who have been waiting.
Please keep in mind that if your treatment is started, we may need to cancel your clycle if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. All of our staff and patients are being asked a series of questions, to ensure that they are free of symptoms, so we do not spread COVID-19 within our community. Masks must be worn at all times and good hand hygiene should be practices. We are also following the City of San Francisco health order regarding visitors- only individuals with appointments will be allowed in the clinic. This is contrary to our usual practice of including our patients' partners, close family and/or friends in a supportive environment. We look forward to the time when we can again welcome visitors. We will also continue zoom visits and consultations, with physicians and staff, so we can include your partner as much as possible.
We understand this waiting period is difficult and thank you for your patience. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you during this time. Please check our website for updates and suggestions to help make the "shelter-in-place" less stressful and perhaps more interesting. Lastly, please know our psychologists are available via Zoom for emotional health and support.
In the meantime, please continue to update us when your cycle starts so we can start planning for a cycle as soon as it is safe to do so.
We are in this together.
April 3, 2020
To all of our UCSF patients and families,
We want to first say THANK YOU for your understanding, patience and support over the past several weeks. We know that having to put treatment plans on hold is incredibly distressing and stressful, and we are so appreciative of what you, our patients, are doing to protect our community at large. The weight of this decision is a heavy one, and we are re-evaluating the situation daily in order to resume care as soon as it is safe to do so. We remain deeply committed to you and to our shared goal of building your family.
As of March 30th, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which oversees the practice of fertility specialists, issued an updated statement recommending that IVF cycles, frozen embryo transfers, IUI cycles, and non-emergent surgical procedures be delayed until at least April 13, 2020. We respect the principles of public health that underlie this recommendation, and we are following it. In addition, we are taking into consideration the San Francisco shelter in place restrictions which as of this writing are in place until May 3, 2020.
Please continue to check this website for updated information as COVID-19 guidelines continue to evolve. You can also reach out to your Care Team at any time, if you have questions or need general support. Our physicians, psychologists, and genetic counselors continue to offer Telehealth consultations during this time. We are here for you.
Thank you again – we are eagerly looking forward to the time when we can see you again in person and resume your care.
Drs. Marcelle Cedars, Mitch Rosen, Vic Fujimoto, Heather Huddleston, Paolo Rinaudo, Evelyn Mok-Lin, Hakan Cakmak, Martha Noel, Yanett Anaya, Thalia Segal, Eleni Jaswa and Linda Giudice
The UCSF Center for Reproductive Health Team
March 26, 2020
A message to patients from The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology:
On March 17, 2020, recommendations were released for how physicians and their medical practices that offer fertility care should proceed with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most medical societies in the U.S. have been offering guidance to their members over the past 5-10 days. This communication from SART is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) on those Recommendations for current and future patients who need fertility medical treatments. This document will be continuously updated with more FAQ's and revisions to responses if new information becomes available. We encourage you to contact SART at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Will postponing my care affect my ability to have a child?
- I hear that elective medical procedures in my geographic area are supposed to stop; are IVF and other fertility treatments considered "elective"?
- Can my clinic prevent me from getting infected by screening patients and staff?
- Is there a risk that my cycle could be cancelled if I proceed with treatment now?
- Are my frozen embryos, eggs, or sperm safe? - Should I take steps to avoid pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
To access this information provided by SART please visit https://www.sart.org/patients/covid-19-alert-for-patients/
March 18, 2020
We are in a time of great uncertainty. The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19) has emerged as a global pandemic of an unprecedented scale. At UCSF, we are continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and we continue to learn more each day.
We feel profound sympathy for everyone who has been affected by COVID-19 and recognize the severe shockwaves this illness resonates through families, friends, communities and societies.
At UCSF, our highest priority and deepest obligation are to the safety of our patients, our staff, and our community. We are committed to doing everything we can to mitigate this healthcare crisis. This starts with stopping the spread of this highly contagious virus.
In addition, there exist concerns about the safety of pregnancy during a high-risk time for SARS-CoV-2 infection. We feel these concerns must be taken seriously. At this point, there are extremely limited data regarding the risks of infection for mom and baby during the first and second trimesters. Based on the changes in a woman’s immune system and lungs during pregnancy, as well as experience with prior coronaviruses including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, it is reasonable to predict that compared with the general population, pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe illness, morbidity, or mortality, and adverse perinatal outcomes including preterm birth.
In light of our foremost obligation to the health and safety of our patients, our staff, and our community at home and around the world, we support and uphold the statements issued by our governing body, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). This guidance urges all fertility doctors to stop initiating new treatment cycles, to suspend non-urgent procedures, and to minimize in-person interactions to prevent the spread of the virus. This will also help us to reallocate severely limited healthcare resources to caring for critically ill patients in the main hospital.
We understand that the clock doesn’t pause on our patients’ hopes and dreams of building their families. In fact, in times of crisis, family becomes even more front and center as the vital component of life. We know this, and our hearts go out to all of our patients whom we know are disappointed that, unfortunately, we are unable to treat them safely and responsibly at this moment in time.
Please be assured that our patients’ priorities remain our priorities as well. As soon as it is safe and responsible to proceed with treatment at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, we are committed and prepared to do so.
We also understand the inevitable frustration about the uncertain timeline of when treatment will resume. We are frustrated too. If you are a patient, please know that we are here for you. You are not alone. We are reassessing our situation on a daily basis, and exploring all creative options for safe provision of services as we learn more. We encourage you to reach out to us with questions and concerns. On our end, we will provide updates as they become available through our website and patient communication channels.
Although we are in uncharted territory, know that at UCSF we are witnessing inspiring feats of human courage, empathy, and teamwork. Healthcare providers and staff are coming together from across the university to prepare and care for all members of our community afflicted by this virus, many of whom are expected to be critically ill. We further hope and believe that the rigorous measures taken across the Bay Area, from CRH to every household, will prevent this crisis from unbuckling the healthcare system.
We are grateful for your patience and support while we navigate and overcome this new challenge together.
For additional information about COVID-19 please click here to view the ASRM Guidelines.
During this time our CRH team remains available to you. The following services are ongoing.
1. All of our physicians continue to provide follow-up and new patient visits by telehealth.
2. Our psychological services continue to be available without interruption by telehealth.
3. Our support staff are working remotely to support patient care and remain available by phone and patient portal.
4. Our laboratory remains staffed on-site by our embryologists.
5. Our physicians and nurse practitioners continue to perform pregnancy ultrasounds on site.
6. Our physicians and nurse practitioners continue to provide on-site evaluations and care for urgent medical issues including miscarriage treatment.
7. We continue to provide uninterrupted services for our patients facing new cancer diagnoses.
Please contact your care team directly of call our Main Line: 415-353-7475 with any questions or to schedule follow up appointments.
Opportunities to pitch in during COVID-19:
Abide by public health measures including shelter at home to avoid contracting and spreading the virus (see below for specific measures to take to prevent infection)
Donate blood after shelter period, as there are severe shortages currently:
- UCSF: https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive
- ZSFG and VA: https://www.vitalant.org/Locations2/Bay-Area/San-Francisco,-Masonic-Turk.aspx
Tips to prevent getting infected with SARS-CoV-2:
- Wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds)
- Use sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when washing hands in not an option
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid shaking hands
- Socially distance yourself – stay at least 6 feet away
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces
- Stay home if you are sick