SA's IVF Leader Since 1982

COVID-19

Clinic COVID-19 guidelines from 6th December 2021:


Dear Patients

Despite high vaccination rates in South Australia, community transmission rates have resulted in some changes to our COVID-19 protocols.

We wish to assure you that Flinders Fertility is continuing to treat all patients, whether or not they are vaccinated.

With effect from 6th December 2021, we will only be able to offer consultations and nurse instruction appointments by telehealth.

Bloods and scan appointments for vaccinated patients will continue in clinic, but partners or support people will not be able to attend unless there are special circumstances such as interpreter required.

As previously, unvaccinated patients will continue to have their bloods and scans offsite, and partially vaccinated patients may attend the clinic for scans and the associated blood tests, but will need to wait in their car until called by a nurse.

All patients will need to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of egg or sperm retrieval procedures from Monday 6th December, and partners will also be required to undertake a test at the same time if they are coming into the clinic for sperm collection, or to attend the embryo transfer. As previously, unvaccinated partners are unable to attend embryo transfers and other appointments.


For more details of our current guidelines, please see below:

  • We are asking patients for evidence of vaccination so that we can add it to their medical record. Surgical masks must be also worn in the clinic when you attend for essential appointments such as bloods and scans.

  • QR code check-in/attendance registration is required

  • All patients must complete and sign a COVID screening questionnaire on arrival and have their temperatures checked.

  • Children under 12 are no longer able to enter the clinic. To protect both them and other patients, we ask that you make alternative childcare arrangements. We understand that you may need to come in for multiple appointments during a cycle and it may be difficult to get support for every appointment. If you find yourself in this situation, we suggest speaking to our nurses about having some of your appointments by Telehealth and at external facilities for bloods and scans, or consider delaying treatment until restrictions reduce.

  • All patients (including partners if applicable) will be asked to undergo a PCR COVID test and obtain a negative result at the time of book on for treatment.

  • All patients are required to have a PCR COVID test within 72 hours of any surgical procedure at Glenelg Day Surgery. Partners (if applicable) will also need to have a repeat PCR test at this time if they are intending to attend the clinic for sperm collection or retrieval, and (if vaccinated) for embryo transfers. All patients are asked to reduce their movements and isolate between their test and their egg retrieval procedure. Please note that if you have any symptoms of COVID, the Day Surgery will not admit you unless your negative PCR test result was obtained no more than 48 hours before your procedure.

  • Patients who are planning to travel interstate must not book on for treatment until they have returned to SA, and must confirm that they will remain in SA throughout their treatment cycle. If you are a patient who resides interstate, please see the special conditions section below.

  • Patients that have travelled overseas cannot enter the clinic or book on for procedures for 30 days after returning to SA.


For fully vaccinated SA patients with a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate:

  • You will be scheduled at the start of surgery lists for procedures


For SA patients who are partially vaccinated or who have a recognised medical exemption certificate:

  • Blood tests will need to be carried out offsite at a provider of your choice. Our nurses will provide you with pathology request forms at book on.

  • You will still be able to come into the clinic for scans, embryo transfers, and sperm samples, and for oocyte retrieval and surgical sperm procedures in the Day Surgery.

  • You will be scheduled after vaccinated patients and before unvaccinated patients on surgery lists

  • For essential appointments in the clinic, we will ask you to wait outside in your car until other patients have left the area. Staff will phone you when ready and will wear full PPE in this situation


For unvaccinated SA patients or those without a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate:

  • Consults, counselling, and nurse appointments will be scheduled via Telehealth

  • Scans and blood tests will need to be carried out offsite at a provider of your choice. This will incur an additional cost, and our nurses will provide you with pathology and ultrasound request forms at book on.

  • You will still be able to come into the clinic for embryo transfers and to provide sperm samples, and for oocyte retrieval and surgical sperm retrieval procedures in the Day Surgery (subject to negative COVID-19 PCR test results as outlined above).

  • You will be scheduled at the end of surgery lists

  • For essential appointments in the clinic, we will ask you to wait outside in your car until other patients have left the area. Staff will phone you when ready and will wear full PPE in this situation.

  • Unvaccinated partners cannot attend any clinic appointments other than their own procedures including sperm collection

In addition to the above, for interstate patients:

  • To book on for a stimulated cycle (eg IVF, ICSI) you will need to travel to and remain in SA throughout your cycle. This is because of the risks of developing serious conditions such as OHSS if you find you are unable to enter South Australia part-way through your cycle. At present, South Australian entry conditions are changing frequently and we cannot compromise patient safety.

  • You will need to show your SA Government EntryCheck application to the Day Surgery, and have obtained negative COVID-19 PCR tests on days 1, 6 and 14 to be admitted to Glenelg Day Surgery. If you have travelled from a high risk location, this means that you will have had to quarantine for 7 days and will not be able to book on for treatment until you have received your negative test result from day 6 of your quarantine period.

  • For patients booking on for other treatments such as FET and IUI, you'll need a PCR COVID test before departure and to complete the SA Government Entry Check requirements. You will need to arrive in South Australia at least 3 days before your appointment at the clinic, and must obtain an additional PCR COVID test result conducted in South Australia within 72 hours before your appointment, again showing a negative result. Please note that if you have travelled from a high-risk location, you will be required to quarantine in SA for 7 days and will not be able to enter the clinic until you have obtained your day 13 negative PCR test result.

Although unwanted, we hope that these precautions will help keep our patients, visitors, and team safe during this uncertain period. We expect to be able to return to normal operations over time, and we will be continuing to monitor the situation closely; however, it is likely that these restrictions will fluctuate over the next few months, depending on community transmission levels in South Australia.

Please continue to check our Facebook page for up-to-date information.


FAQ:

Why are you limiting appointments for unvaccinated patients when vaccinated patients can also catch or transmit the virus?

We appreciate that vaccinated people are still capable of transmitting the virus to others and that these precautions will not guarantee that we will escape becoming an exposure site. However, we do have a duty of care to all patients and our team and want to minimise our risks as far as we are able.

I am vaccinated, but my partner is not. Can we continue treatment?

Yes – in this case, you can either attend telehealth appointments, or you can come into the clinic without your partner and they can join the appointment by phone or Zoom. If you are having treatment and your partner needs to produce a sperm sample, he can do this in the clinic but he would need to wait outside in his car and our staff will call and let him know when it’s time to come into the clinic. Staff will wear PPE in the collection room. Unvaccinated partners cannot attend other clinic appointments such as embryo transfer or scans.

Why can my child not come into the clinic with me?

We love seeing children in the clinic and we have made this decision very reluctantly. However, we view it as too risky for children to be on site when the threat of transmission is higher. The risk of transmission is very much higher for unvaccinated people and we would not want to put anyone, most of all children, at risk.

Can I come into the clinic for bloods and scans?

Vaccinated patients may continue to come into the clinic for bloods and scans, but other conditions may apply as case numbers grow – please check our Facebook page frequently for updates. Because of the higher risk of transmission from unvaccinated patients, we are minimising the number of contact appointments for them. We will continue to treat all patients, however, and provided we are not forced to close temporarily, all patients will be able to have embryo transfers, oocyte retrievals, intrauterine inseminations, and other procedures on site.

What will happen if Flinders Fertility becomes an exposure site and is forced to close temporarily?

We and other fertility clinics in South Australia have a reciprocal agreement to enable urgent procedures such as oocyte retrievals to be carried out at each other’s premises.

How long will these restrictions last?

We cannot say, as it will depend on community transmission levels, vaccination rates, availability of testing, and other factors. We will continue to monitor the situation daily and will provide updates through our Facebook page, website, and directly to patients when restrictions change.

Won’t having the vaccination reduce my fertility?

There is no evidence to suggest that having a vaccination against COVID-19 will impact your fertility. Click here for more information.

Shouldn’t I avoid vaccinations while I’m undergoing treatment?

We only recommend that you avoid being vaccinated in the two days leading up to or following a procedure – for more information, click here.

(Sources: Services Australia)

Why does my partner need to have PCR tests at book on and before my OPU?

If your partner is vaccinated and intending to attend the clinic to join you for your embryo transfer or any other appointments, we want to minimise risk during your treatment. If your partner is unvaccinated, they will only need to undertake a PCR test 72 hours before sperm collection (if applicable) as unvaccinated partners cannot come into the clinic for any non-essential appointments (such as embryo transfer, scans, etc).

What happens if I contract COVID 19 during my treatment?

We will cancel your treatment and you will not be financially disadvantaged if this happens.