At IVF-Spain we know our patients cannot afford to lose any more time as they try to start a family. We also know that the health of our staff is vital for us to continue making families, but mindful of that our own families come first.
Although infertility is not considered a life-threatening illness, it certainly affects the quality of life and the mental health of people who suffer from it. We also know that the functional lifespan of the ovaries is very much limited by age, either in terms of the quality of the egg cells or the age of the prospective mother. It has been shown that the longer treatment is delayed, the poorer the results are likely to be. For this reason, one of the first steps we plan to take is to produce medical reports certifying our patients' need to start or restart their treatment.
According to the evidence put forward by various scientific studies and official bodies, such as the Spanish Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (SEGO), we know that coronavirus does not infect either egg cells, neither does it infect ovarian follicle theca or granulosa cells. So, there can be no risk of transmission by those cells.
In terms of obstetric and perinatal criteria, pregnancy has not been shown to be an added risk factor in infection and in the pathology caused by the virus, and the literature analysed shows that vertical virus transmission is irrelevant when the pregnant woman has contracted the disease during the third month of pregnancy.
In fact, unlike what occurred in other pandemics, such as Zika, no government or health authority has recommended contraception.
What we cannot ignore is the need for our patients to be able to return to the clinic with complete peace of mind, knowing that we will be safeguarding their health at all times. We can do this without putting them or our own staff teams at risk.
This means that the only way of guaranteeing everyone's safety and continuing with our important work is to turn our IVF-Spain clinic into a safe place that is free of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
We are a medical centre with great healthcare workers and scientists who are going to be ensuring that the entire process follows the approved protocols for action and the guidelines set out by our Medical Management team.
New guidelines for behaviour
Although the formula applied up to now for combating Covid-19 has been that of confinement, now, in the new scenario and with the new way of behaving with each other we need new guidelines to make sure that everyone stays safe and healthy.
The type of building occupied by IVF-Spain means we have enough space, more than 2,000 m2, to ensure social distancing between work teams, staff and patients.
One of the measures is that staff will be entering and leaving work at staggered times, over different intervals and according to work teams. This means we can avoid too many people gathering at the entrance or in the changing rooms, for example.
The timetable will be arranged in such a way that patients can attend their appointments while respecting social distancing rules.
At the entrance to the clinic and at the exit of each of the centre's units, patients will be able to use strategically place hydroalcoholic gel dispensers to clean their hands. Staff will also be required to wash their hands with the hand sanitiser gel or soap provided in every toilet area.
This is a new normality we must all come to terms with, according to the data published in the journal Science by epidemiologists at the University of Harvard. They have stated that to eliminate the virus we will have to keep social distancing in place until 2022.
The constant cleaning of our facilities by our maintenance and biosecurity staff is nothing new for us. However, efforts are now being ramped up and approved protocols introduced that require the high frequency use of disinfectant products to ensure we operate in a 0 risk scenario.
One great asset for everyone's safety is that we have our own laboratory. The PCR tests will enable us to set up a space where we can test our staff and our patients on almost a daily basis, thereby guaranteeing that the IVF-Spain clinic is a Covid-19-free space. Those who test negative for Covid-19 in the PCR tests or are shown to have acquired immunity will be able to do their work with complete peace of mind.
Concerning the latest news on the controversial mandatory quarantine period, it should be noted that this will apply during the State of Alarm, which is expected to end on 25 May. It maintains the exceptions of movement by force majeure, and since medical treatment is included in this category, we have not faced problems in the care of international patients. For this, all our patients must carry a safe-conduct document that we provide them to avoid any problems during their movements and travel.
In this sense, the European Commission, in its plan to gradually reopen borders, states that this quarantine would not be necessary since the borders would reopen between States or regions with the same pandemic decline and the same protection guarantees.
Numerous initiatives have been proposed in Spain by sectors such as aviation and tourism for the free transit of people this summer. Likewise, regarding the health sector, assisted reproduction treatments have been, are, and will continue to be of vital importance, and therefore, must be included in this exception that permits patient travel.
The great news is that we have our own laboratory for everyone's safety. Thanks to the PCR and immunological tests, we will be enabling a space where we can test our workers and patients almost daily, at no cost, guaranteeing that the IVF-Spain clinic is a COVID-19-free space.
As for our patients, we will perform such tests before their return to their home country to reduce the possibility of quarantine upon their return.
Both staff and patients will be sure that they are in an environment where they can work and interact with each other without fear of becoming infected.