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Publication Detail
Fertility treatment delays during COVID-19: Profiles, feelings and concerns of impacted patients
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Gürtin ZB, Jasmin E, Da Silva P, Dennehy C, Harper J, Kanjani S
  • Publisher:
    Elsevier BV
  • Publication date:
    03/2022
  • Pagination:
    251, 264
  • Journal:
    Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online
  • Volume:
    14
  • Medium:
    Print-Electronic
  • Status:
    Published
  • Country:
    England
  • PII:
    S2405-6618(22)00003-X
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    Assisted reproduction, COVID-19, Coronavirus disease, Counselling, Fertility, Pandemic, Psychology, SARS-COV-2, Sociology
  • Notes:
    © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in unprecedented measures across all health services around the globe, including the large-scale cessation of assisted reproductive technology treatment in Europe as clinics closed, causing disruption and delay to the fertility treatment of thousands of patients in the UK alone. This research explores how patients were impacted by the delay and disruption, and their feelings, concerns and reactions. A mixed-methods, anonymous, online questionnaire, live between 19 May and 30 June 2020, was used to target all fertility patients aged >18 years whose treatment had been impacted by COVID-19. In total, 709 people began the questionnaire and 501 completed it in the time available (70.7% completion rate). Patients reported feeling 'powerless/helpless' (78.3%), 'frustrated' (59.3%) and 'anxious' (54.7%) in response to the closure of fertility clinics. The majority were 'very concerned' about time passing and not knowing when they could start treatment again (79.0%), and the length of waiting lists when clinics reopened (70.9%). While 76.8% of respondents had some concerns around contracting COVID-19, 42.9% were 'not at all concerned' about undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment during a pandemic. Variables such as funding source, duration of infertility, previous experience of fertility treatment, treatment stage and the presence of children were correlated with significant intragroup differences in the types of concerns reported. The large majority (72.7%) of respondents stated their eagerness to start treatment as soon as possible, and 9.4% said that they had already resumed treatment; only 6.0% of respondents wanted to wait due to concerns related to COVID-19.
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