05 November 2020
Fertility Week 2020: Fertility treatment continues in lockdown 2
With it being Fertility Week this week, we have been reflecting on how 2020 has impacted those involved in fertility treatment. During the spring lockdown, fertility clinics were initially closed, although it was hugely positive that they were one of the first permitted re-openings on 11 May 2020 (on the basis they could demonstrate that they had a COVID-19 treatment commencement strategy and the necessary safety measures in place).
Although the initial closure of clinics must have been devastating for those whose treatment was suspended, it is positive that fertility treatment patients were recognised and early re-openings allowed them to continue their fertility journeys.
In respect of the current lockdown, it is therefore hugely welcomed and reassuring that there is no national closure of fertility clinics or any suggestion that patients should postpone treatment – this being entirely in accordance with the latest government guidance. The HFEA have given a statement (effective 2 November 2020) about this and said:
Fertility patients are understandably anxious at this time and in the light of these developments we are issuing a further statement to set out our position on fertility treatment across the UK and the expectations we have of clinics.
At this current time we have no plans to implement a national closure of fertility clinics. HFEA licensed clinics have incorporated safe ways of working for patients and clinic staff during the ongoing pandemic as set out in their Treatment Commencement Strategy in May 2020.
At this time, none of the governments across the UK are suggesting that patients should postpone treatment – for example the updated guidance coming into force on Thursday in England includes permission to be outside your home “for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies.”
However, with Covid19 cases increasing and hospital admission and death rates predicted to be significantly higher than in the first wave, we expect clinics to promptly review their policies and procedures to ensure renewed detailed action plans are integrated into clinical care immediately.
This is obviously positive news and, we hope, reassuring to those involved in fertility treatment. We work with clients who are undertaking fertility treatment in order to start their family be it through surrogacy, donor conception or other assisted reproduction. If you would like any help or advice on the legal implications of your family building plans please contact Jemimah Fleet on 01753 889995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.