Treatment at King’s Fertility during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.
We are still here to offer you our expert advice and support, so if you need more information at this difficult time please call us on O2O3 957 795O.
- I am a new patient looking to begin my fertility journey. What should I do?
Should I wait to discuss any treatment options when the clinic until reopens?
You can still have an initial consultation over the telephone or a secure virtual platform with our expert consultants. However, as per our regulator HFEA advice we are yet unable to start any new treatment cycles at this time or perform any diagnostics tests.
If you would like arrange that or you would like to hear more please contact us by email on email@example.com
- I have an appointment booked. Will this still be able to go ahead?
We are closely following the UK government guidelines and monitoring any updates issued. If you have an appointment booked, please rest assured that we will be in contact with you to discuss the next steps and options for you. Depending on the type of appointment we may still be able to provide it via telephone or through our secure virtual platform.
- Can I still have any diagnostic tests such as blood tests, fertility and semen assessment?
Unfortunately, for the time being and whilst strict social distancing rules are in place, we are not able to provide you with any type of appointment that requires personal contact, such as blood tests or other investigative procedures requiring you to attend physically our clinic. We are continuously updating our website and social platforms so please follow us so you are informed when we will be able to offer you again these in-clinic services.
- Why can some patients start treatment and others not?
Although all non-urgent fertility treatments have to stop as per the HFEA’s latest guidance, we can continue to offer fertility preservation treatment to oncology patients that are about to undergo any kind of cancer treatment. Due to the urgency of the cancer treatment and the significant negative impact this treatment can have to their future fertility, this fertility treatment cannot be postponed. Please follow our website and social platforms for regular updates.
- Can I still freeze my eggs/sperm?
Unfortunately, this type of treatment is available only to patients due to undergo urgent oncology treatment and this is as the only way to preserve their fertility prior to them starting their cancer treatment.
- I was not able to have an embryo transfer and all my embryos have been frozen, what are the next steps?
Our clinic remains open and members of the medical, nursing, embryology and admin team are there daily to support our patients and clinic’s needs. Our dedicated lab team is looking after and monitoring daily all frozen embryos. Once restrictions are lifted and we are safe to offer treatments again, we will contact you to arrange a follow-up consultation to discuss the next steps with you. In the meantime, we are continuing to offer phone or virtual consultations through our secure platform so if you feel you would like to book one please contact our admin team via phone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- My semen analysis appointment has been cancelled. What should I do now?
We are deeply sorry we had to cancel or reschedule your appointment, however, this was a decision we had to take as to comply with the social distancing rules and reduce the risk of transmission of coronovirus to other patients and staff members. As soon as we are able and it is safe for everyone to offer again in-clinic appointments we will be in contact with you to book a new appointment.
- My treatment has been cancelled. When will fertility treatments and investigations restart? How will I know that the clinic will open and be able to commence my treatment?
We know that having your treatment cancelled is very disappointing and we appreciate your patience and understanding. We would like to reassure you that we have put a plan in place for all the cancelled appointments and treatments and we will contact you to discuss the next steps and organise the restart of your treatment. However, we cannot provide you yet with a date.
This is a constantly-evolving situation and we are still awaiting further advice by the HFEA, our regulatory body, on this matter. As soon as we are informed about being able to resume treatments we will inform all our patients and start offering again our services. We are also regularly updating our website and social platforms so please make sure you follow us.
- Will I need to repeat my blood tests before treatment?
We may have to repeat some blood tests depending on the type of the treatment you will be having and the time that the clinic will remain closed for. Rest assured that we will not repeat unnecessary tests but only the ones required medically and /or by the HFEA (our regulator).
If this is the case, we will ensure you are given enough notice to be able to book with your GP prior to the treatment if this is what you prefer.
Our fertility nurses are able to advise you further regarding the timeframe and the type of blood test you might need to repeat. Please contact our nursing team by email to find out more at Nurses@kingsfertility.co.uk
- Could having the coronavirus affect my fertility?
There is no such evidence currently to suggest that the virus will affect your fertility directly.
- Can I attend the clinic for my early pregnancy (viability) scan?
Yes, our clinic remains open and there is daily available clinical staff to advise you on next steps and perform any early pregnancy scans as a result of your successful treatment at King’s Fertility.
- What is your advice for pregnant women at this time? Is it safe to get pregnant?
Pregnant women were placed in a vulnerable group by the Chief Medical Officer on 16th March. Based on the evidence we have so far; pregnant women are still no more likely to contract coronavirus than the general population. What has driven the decisions made by officials to place pregnant women in the vulnerable category is caution.
The advice for pregnant women from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is reassuring. While very little is known about the impact of Covid-19 on reproduction and pregnancy, there are reassuring reports of women who have tested positive for Covid-19 delivering babies free of the disease.
The RCOG has issued guidance for pregnant women, which you can find here
- If I am pregnant will Covid-19 increase my risk of miscarriage?
According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), there are currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss or causes in baby’s development in relation to COVID-19. Case reports from early pregnancy studies with SARS and MERS do not demonstrate a convincing relationship between infection and increased risk of miscarriage or second trimester loss.
- I would like to transfer my sperm/eggs/embryos from another clinic or donor bank to King’s Fertility, so I am ready to start my treatment when the clinic reopens. Can this happen?
Unfortunately, we cannot currently organise any shipment or transfer of samples within UK clinics or internationally. However, if this is your intention, considering that the coordination and paperwork exchange between clinics and donor banks can take some time I would advise you to contact our embryology team at email@example.com and express your intention as they will be able to advise you of the next steps and start organising the necessary paperwork.
- Are my stored embryos, eggs or sperm being looked after while the clinic is not open for treatment and and how safe is the clinic?
Absolutely. If you have sperm, eggs or embryos that have been frozen please be reassured that our dedicated laboratory team is looking after them daily and keeping them safe for when you can resume treatment. Our senior embryologists are still working in clinic and continuing to regularly maintain and monitor cryostorage. The cryostorage tanks are all alarmed and linked to a 24/7 electronically monitored system to ensure all frozen gametes and embryos are safely stored. Also, members from the medical, nursing and administration teams, are available daily in the clinic to support and advise you further if you need so.
- I am self-funded patient and my treatment has now been cancelled. What happens to my money? Can I get them back?
We understand that while this is a challenging period for everyone the suspension of the treatment can be quite stressful and difficult for those waiting to start their fertility treatment. We are here to support you and do our best to help you tackle any cause of stress by giving you options.
If you are self-funding your treatment and the treatment you have paid for was not delivered, we will restart your treatment at no extra cost, even if we have performed some elements of the treatment included in the package such as monitoring scans.
If you are feeling uncertain of the current situation, which is understandable, we can credit your account with the treatment fees that can be used for future treatments.
If however you would like to take a break to re-evaluate the situation and prefer to proceed with the refund of the treatment please email our finance team at firstname.lastname@example.org with your refund request.
Our admin team is available daily to discuss further the options and guide you accordingly. Please contact us via phone or email at email@example.com
- I am a self-funded patient and my transfer was cancelled as we proceeded with a “freeze all embryos strategy”. What happens with my frozen embryo transfer, do I have to pay for it?
No. If you have been advised to proceed with a “freeze-all embryos strategy” due to these unprecedented circumstances (following our regulatory body advice), you will not have to pay for your first frozen embryo cycle. We will perform this as your next cycle and when we are able to reopen and start the treatment. The cost of the frozen embryo transfer cycle will be covered by King’s Fertility (excluding the cost of any medications).
- I am an NHS patient and my treatment has now been cancelled. What happens with my funding? Will I lose it? What if I am not eligible for frozen embryo transfer but had to proceed with freeze all?
No. You will not lose your NHS funding. This will be transferred over to your next cycle when we will be able to reopen and start the treatment. Any additional costs, as the cost of any medications already used or expired and the cost of the any screening blood tests that might need to be repeated, will be covered by King’s Fertility.
If you have been advised to proceed with a “freeze-all embryos strategy” due to these unprecedented circumstances (following our regulatory body advice) but your NHS funding does not cover a frozen embryo transfer, King’s Fertility will support you and provide it at no extra cost.
- Are you seeking clarity for those whose eligibility for funding or treatment will expire during this unprecedented situation?
We are aware that there is a group of patients desperately worried that as a result of this unavoidable delay their eligibility for funding will expire. Although this is not something that is in our control, but rather dependant on individual CCGs who hold the funding, we you already in discussions and have raised the issue with the relevant parties, and we are awaiting to obtain clear guidance on behalf of those individuals affected.
- Will those already undergoing treatment be prioritised first?
Although it is not clear when and how the current government restrictions will be lifted, we do anticipate a temporary surge of activity relatively to the national capacity to perform treatments. Among our guiding principles are fairness and equity. With that in mind, we consider it fair that those already undergoing treatment, and especially those that had to cancel their treatment midway, will be prioritised.
- Will everybody be allowed to start fertility treatment straightaway?
Although it is not clear when and how the current government restrictions will be lifted, we are expecting that those with pre-existing medical problems and who are considered “vulnerable individuals” will be asked to continue to self-isolate for longer. For those patients falling in to this category, it would not be recommended to commence straightaway with fertility treatment, and they would probably have to wait for a little bit longer and whilst the effects of easing the restrictions are being assessed more widely. If you think that you might fall in to this category, then do discuss this with us closer to the rime, as this is something that will be assessed on a case by case basis and after consultation with our senior doctors.
- What will your process of prioritisation be upon re-opening and how are you planning to deal with the backlog?
We have made plans and drawn up various strategies in anticipation of the government eventually easing restrictions and allowing fertility treatments to re-commence. In anticipation of this, we have invested in a number of areas and put in place a system to increase our capacity and adapt our processes so that it can match our patients’ needs. A complex algorithm taking into consideration multiple factors such as age, ovarian reserve, time waiting, underlying diagnosis, stage of assessment and stage of treatment has been devised. The aim of this is to ensure that a balance between medical need, fairness and equity is achieved. Hopefully, this prioritisation strategy will only need to be temporary and whilst we return back to normal operating conditions.
- What is the process for making appointments once services resume?
Our call centre is still operational, albeit at reduced working hours. Our normal ways of requesting appointments, such as via telephone or email, remain the same. In addition, our administration team is keeping lists with the details of those that require or have requested an appointment. The moment that the situation regarding easing social distancing has become clear, they will be proactively contacting our patients offering them appointments. We expect appointments to be conducted in line with whatever new guidelines the government and relevant scientific bodies advice. As we will all likely have to contend for a bit longer with having to comply with new social distancing and hygiene norms, we might also evolve the way that we conduct our appointments and tests. These might be in the form of using a combination of remote and in-person visits, having to instigate new social distancing and hygiene rules when in clinic etc. Therefore, you might be requested to engage in ways that previously were not necessary.
- What emotional support are you offering patients in the meantime?
We understand that this is an extremely challenging period for our patients and very unique and difficult emotionally as they have to balance between the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of the fertility treatments. Our priority is your safety and mental wellbeing. Therefore, we are able to help our patients by increasing our offering of counselling & support during this time. There is a support team daily in clinic comprising of embryologists, nurses, a senior doctor and administrators that are here to answer any questions and guide you during this uncertain time. Our counsellors are all available for you, offering appointments by phone or virtually.
For more information, you can contact our admin team. Alternatively, our counsellors can be approached directly.
- Can I call in for an update?
Yes, please do so. There is a support team daily in clinic comprising of embryologists, nurses, a senior doctor and administrators. Our team is more than happy to speak with you and the contact centre is open Monday to Friday 10am until 1pm. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I have been informed that there is a ‘waiting list’. Where am I on the waiting list? Can I be first on the list?
As each patient’s journey is individual to them, it is hard to say where your placing is on the list, as it depends on what sort of treatment, investigation or appointment you are waiting for. Our management team are creating a strategy once restrictions are lifted and we will bring you in to clinic to start, or continue your fertility journey, with us as soon as possible thereafter.
- Will you prioritise private patients over NHS? Are you applying the same waiting rules for NHS and private patients? I am a NHS patient, can I pay to go to the top of the list?
Our clinic’s ethos is to treat each patient individually, fairly and with the same excellent care and approach, no matter what their funding pathway might be. Once restrictions are lifted, we will be in touch for you to start, or continue, your fertility journey accordingly to our prioritisation strategy which is based on medical need, and not funding.
- I can’t afford to pay for the storage fees, do you have a payment plan? Can I stop my payment at this time as I can’t afford to pay the storage fees
We do appreciate the financial strain that some of you may be under during this time. We have recently introduced a direct debit scheme, with offers both a discount but also spreads the cost over the year. All patients needing to pay ongoing storage fees can join the scheme. Please call the team on O2O3 957 795O to discuss further.
- Due to the COVID crisis, my GP won’t see me to refer me, can I refer myself and then get the GP referral later?
You can certainly refer yourself on our private pathway now. However, if you’d like to join the NHS pathway, we do require the referral to be made by your GP first via their ERS platform (electronic referral system).
- Can I book tests now whilst it is quiet?
Due to the governments advice to stay at home, we are not booking any in clinic appointments at this time. If you have been referred to us prior to the COVID-19 crisis, you will be on our waiting list and as soon as restrictions are lifted, someone will contact you to start, or continue, your fertility journey with us.
- Will I start my fertility journey where I left off or will I have to start from the beginning again?
You will start your journey where you left off. Once restrictions are lifted, our clinical team will review your notes and agree your continuation point with you.
- When will you review your restricted operating arrangements?
We are closely monitoring the advice provided to us by the government and our governing body the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority). Once their advice changes and restrictions around social distancing are revised, we will review our set up accordingly.
- If I fall pregnant naturally during this time, should I contact you to cancel my referral?
Yes, please call the contact centre on O2O3 957 795O to advise us accordingly.
- Your FAQ’s haven’t answered my question, what should I do?
Please call the team on O2O3 957 795O and someone will be happy to assist you.