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‘It is just devastating’ — Couples dealt with a huge blow as IVF treatment is hit by virus

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 07/04/2020 Lisa ODonnell
a woman smiling for the camera © Provided by Extra.ie

Couples undergoing IVF treatment are ‘devastated’ as their plans to become parents have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most clinics have been closed for the past few weeks because of the continuing crisis.

The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology recommended last month that women should not become pregnant through IVF during the crisis, and that embryos should instead be frozen.

a group of people sitting in a blue shirt: IVF treatment has been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie IVF treatment has been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. Pic: Shutterstock

This decision was made due to the lack of evidence on whether or not the coronavirus can harm a pregnancy, and to avoid an increase in pregnant women entering an already strained health service.

A spokeswoman for the National Infertility Support and Information Group said couples are very upset by the delay, and because they do not know how long it will last.

‘Though they’re devastated, they understand, but it’s such a build-up and you’ve been taking all these drugs,’ she told the Irish Daily Mail.

a microscope on a table: The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology recommended last month that women should not become pregnant through IVF during the crisis, and that embryos should instead be frozen. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology recommended last month that women should not become pregnant through IVF during the crisis, and that embryos should instead be frozen. Pic: Shutterstock

‘You’re so immersed in it, this is your goal and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you.’ The spokeswoman said that even when treatment can return to normal, couples will still face a delay as there will be a backlog.

However, she said the National Infertility Support and Information Group has heard that some clinics plan to work extra hours to meet demand.

a close up of a hand: A spokeswoman for the National Infertility Support and Information Group said couples are very upset by the delay, and because they do not know how long it will last. Pic: Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie A spokeswoman for the National Infertility Support and Information Group said couples are very upset by the delay, and because they do not know how long it will last. Pic: Shutterstock

She said: ‘If the clinics have so many hundred attending them every month, now you’re going to have two to three months – we don’t even know if it’s going to be four months. Can you imagine the influx of people going to the clinics?’ She added that couples may have already waited for two years before seeking treatment, as they would have had to save money for it, meaning that some may not have a lot of time left to have a family.’

Denise Phillips and her husband Mark, from Newbridge, Co. Kildare, were about to begin a cycle of IVF when they were told they would have to delay treatment. They have a five-year-old daughter from IVF treatment, and are hoping to add to their family.

a woman smiling for the camera: Denise Phillips and her husband Mark, from Newbridge, Co. Kildare, were about to begin a cycle of IVF when they were told they would have to delay treatment. Pic: Sean Dwyer © Provided by Extra.ie Denise Phillips and her husband Mark, from Newbridge, Co. Kildare, were about to begin a cycle of IVF when they were told they would have to delay treatment. Pic: Sean Dwyer

She told RTÉ News: ‘It was a big shock because you mentally build yourself up so much that when somebody tells you that you can’t go ahead, it is just devastating. Obviously, the Government has to do things that are right, but it’s awful for somebody to take away your chance after all that’s already been taken from you.’

She said that IVF patients are currently suffering from ‘huge anxiety’, adding: ‘Their families don’t know they are having treatment and they are in isolation. They don’t want to leave the house in case they pick up something and then won’t be able to get treatment once the clinics reopen. Everyone’s mind is racing.’

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

UK PM moved to the intensive care unit (Sky News)

16 deaths, 370 new cases in Ireland(Journal.ie)

France records deadliest 24 hours (BBC)

China records no new virus deaths for the first time (BBC) 

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