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Fertility Care: Essential or Non-Essential? Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic


At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to allocate medical resources towards the anticipated influx of patients infected with the novel virus, many non-essential healthcare services were temporarily paused. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine led the move to halt infertility care in all but the most extreme cases. This cessation of infertility care, compounded by the unknown duration of this recommendation, added to the already high level of stress and anxiety that fertility patients experience and in cases of advanced maternal age or diminished ovarian reserve potentially resulted in suboptimal clinical outcomes. There was vocal disagreement amongst infertility care providers regarding the urgency and essential nature of fertility care and how this balanced with the pandemic. Ultimately there has been a full resumption of fertility care with a new emphasis on fertility preservation. It should be the goal of all professionals in the field of infertility medicine to establish fertility care as essential within the greater field of medicine to assure the protection of their patients in times of future healthcare crisis.