18 March 2020
WFI Statement COVID-19
In response to the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, Wisconsin Fertility Institute is taking several steps to ensure the health and safety of patients, employees and to uphold the high quality of our reproductive services.
Ensuring the Health and Safety of Our Patients, Employees and Clinic
Continuity of Services
Wisconsin Fertility Institute (WFI) is committed to providing exceptional care for our patients and have no plans to close or cease operations unless mandated by local or state authorities. In response to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines published yesterday, WFI is adopting the following policies beginning, March 18, 2020:
- WFI will complete treatment for all patients who are currently in-cycle.
- All patients starting treatment this week, until end of the day on Friday, will be considered in-cycle and therefore allowed to complete their treatment.
- If you are actively planning an IVF cycle at WFI, are not showing any symptoms (cough, runny nose and fever) and wish to begin treatment, please contact WFI at 608-824-0075 as Drs. Pritts and Collins will review patient treatment after Friday, March 20, 2020 on a case-by-case basis.
- Notwithstanding the patient requests noted above, WFI will suspend treatment start dates for all IUI and letrozole cycles after this Friday, March 20, 2020.
- WFI will continue to see symptom-free patients for new patient consultations and follow-up appointments either by phone or on a limited basis.
- All patients seen at WFI on or after March 18, 2020 must arrive alone and maintain 6-foot personal perimeter.
We do not currently have any symptomatic employees, nor do we have employees with travel in the past 14 days to a country with widespread, ongoing transmission (CDC level 3 travel alert). We have prohibited all travel by our employees to any countries with widespread, ongoing transmission and we have canceled all non-essential travel to other locations.
WFI has implemented new policies based on the CDC recommendations to further reduce the risk of virus transmission. In addition to regular handwashing and cleaning equipment between patients, we are asking employees and patients to minimize physical contact by avoiding handshakes, and celebratory or conciliatory embraces. We have asked employees to not share pens between staff and patients, and we encourage you to bring your own if you need them during your appointment. Our clinic will undergo a thorough daily cleaning to disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, and common areas to further reduce the possibility of virus transmission.
For additional protection, WFI will have hand sanitizers, soap and other transmission reducing aids available for your use at our clinic. We suggest you thoroughly wash your hands upon entering the clinic, and again as you exit. The masks we utilize for medical care do not provide protection against the COVID-19 virus. These masks only work to contain your secretions so that you do not infect others. Patients do have the option to wear a protective mask for personal protection. If you chose to do so, please purchase a mask that will protect you from the current COVID-19 virus.
Our providers recognize that there are many reasons to have a cough, runny nose and fever that are not associated with the COVID19 virus, however, to protect you, our patients and our staff, we ask that if you have experienced any of these symptoms within the last 3 weeks, please call 608-824-0075 to cancel your appointment. WFI is not able to order testing for the COVID-19 virus for our patients. This test is ordered and managed by primary care providers under strict CDC guidelines with a mandate to report all results to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Any WFI patient who exhibits flu-like symptoms of fever, cough, or runny nose, will be asked to see their primary care physician and will require medical clearance in the form of a note or facsimile from their physician before returning to WFI and/or continuing with treatment. This is for your protection, other patients’ safety and the welfare of WFI staff.
Third Party Reproduction
WFI strictly follows the guidance published by federal and state health care regulatory bodies. At the current time, neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have released any guidance relating to the retrieval or use of human reproductive tissue during the COVID-19 outbreak. There has been no evidence of the COVID-19 virus spreading via reproductive tissue. Out of an abundance of caution, however, we have enhanced our already-rigorous donor screening procedures to ensure that no tissue is obtained from donors who have a COVID-19 diagnosis, who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, who have traveled to countries experiencing widespread, ongoing transmission, or who have sustained close contact with anyone meeting those criteria. For reproductive tissue already in our inventory, we continue to follow our strict internal processes regarding safe storage of that tissue. For reproductive tissue already in our inventory, we continue to follow our strict internal processes regarding safe storage of that tissue. We have 24/7 monitoring of WFI storage facilities via electronic temperature monitoring and liquid nitrogen level monitoring with audible alarms and backup alarm systems. Regardless of whether there are employees physically present within our on-site storage facility, WFI receives alerts if there is an unacceptable fluctuation in storage tank temperatures. If WFI staff are not on-site, we have designated employees in close proximity who can act on the alert immediately.
COVID-19: WFI Recommended Guidelines for Patients
The FDA has issued specific requirements and guidelines to fertility centers around the country, which includes recommendations for when to stop treatments to prevent infection transmission. WFI complies with all federal, state, and local healthcare laws and guidelines to assure the best possible outcome for your treatment and to keep the transmission of infection minimized.
The recommendations provided below are based upon best practices, information provided by the CDC, medical associations and WFI providers’ decades of experience in mitigating medical risk and the formulation of emergency clinical responses. At present, the incubation period for the Coronavirus is reported to be 14 days.
If you have been in direct contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19, seek immediate care from your primary care provider and alert WFI by calling 608-824-0075. Your visits to WFI cannot be rescheduled until your physician sends a note or facsimile providing for your medical clearance.
If you suspect you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, seek immediate care from your primary care provider and alert WFI by calling 608-824-0075. Your visits to WFI cannot be rescheduled until your physician sends a note or facsimile providing for your medical clearance.
If you have traveled to a country with widespread, ongoing transmission (CDC level 3 travel alert) you will need to reschedule any visits to our clinic until 14 days after the date you returned home. Similarly, visits may only be rescheduled if you are not experiencing any flu-like symptoms.
Patients Undergoing Fertility Treatment
Patients, including prospective oocyte and sperm donors, as well as gestational carriers, who meet the diagnostic criteria for COVID19 infection, should avoid becoming pregnant. For patients undergoing active infertility treatments who contract COVID-19, or show signs of active infections, WFI will cancel their treatment cycle to avoid further transmission of the virus.
At this time, very little is known about COVID-19, particularly related to its effect on pregnant women and infants. Please contact your primary care provider to discuss the most up-to-date information.
Precautions to Reduce Infection Transmission
The CDC recommends that all people follow basic hygiene guidelines to decrease the potential for viral transmission.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using hand sanitizer is not enough; you must wash your hands with soap and water. Bar soap and laundry detergent are recommended.
- Avoid touching your face, particularly your nose, eyes and mouth.
- If you are sick, please remain at home.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough into your elbow. Throw away any used tissues promptly and wash your hands immediately.
- Clean and sanitize your surroundings daily.
- Change your air filters. According to the EPA, the air inside of your home can be upwards of 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, which is why it is so important control your indoor air quality.
Please be assured that WFI providers are staying updated on public and healthcare guidelines. As knowledge of COVID-19 continues to evolve, we anticipate changes at federal, state, and local levels. WFI will provide updates to our policies as we continue to monitor this ongoing situation. We appreciate your attentiveness and understanding in these challenging times.
For more information, please refer to the following resources: 1