How will the Omicron variant impact my fertility treatment at Anova?
In recent weeks, the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 virus has resulted in a surge of new cases across Canada. Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks. At Anova, the safety and health of our patients and medical team is our top priority.
Firstly, we are happy to announce that all fertility services will remain available at Anova clinics throughout January 2022. However, we have updated our safety measures in the clinic to better protect our staff and patients, in accordance with new public health guidelines:
- Additional protective measures: Staff members who cannot maintain a 2m distance from patients are required to wear an isolation gown, N95 mask, eye protection, and gloves to minimize transmission.
- Rapid testing for staff: We will be conducting regular Rapid Antigen tests on all our clinic staff members.
- Mandatory vaccine policy to Anova staff– In addition to the existing precautions and safety measures we have implemented a vaccine policy for all of our team members.
- COVID-19 Screening – All staff must complete COVID-19 screening forms daily before entering the clinic.
With these updates to our clinic processes, we are confident that we can continue to offer all fertility services while maintaining a safe clinic environment for patients and staff. As always, we will continue to monitor public health guidelines for any changes to required clinic procedures and update you accordingly.
For patients currently undergoing treatment, help us keep the clinic a safe environment by:
- Self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and completing our required pre-screening forms before appointments. Please do not come to the clinic if you are experiencing any symptoms or are feeling unwell.
- Getting vaccinated to decrease your risk of developing a severe COVID-19 infection and reduce your risk of transmission. Recent public health initiatives have expanded vaccine eligibility, and we encourage all of our patients (whether they are trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant) to book appointments to receive their 1st, 2nd or booster dose when available.
- No guest/visitor policy – In compliance with public health guidelines, we continue to carefully minimize the number of people in our clinics at any given time. To mitigate the risks of exposure for everyone, we continue to enforce a no visitor policy in all our locations.
- Personal safety measures – We encourage all our patients to maintain social distancing, practice good hand hygiene and be diligent about social gatherings. All patients will be required to wear a medical face mask at the clinic. If a patient arrives without a suitable mask, a medical mask will be provided.
We greatly appreciate your continued patience throughout this new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that things such as reduced capacities and frequent changes to clinic procedures can make an already difficult fertility journey even more stressful. Please know that we are doing everything in our power to make your journey as smooth as possible while ensuring that you remain safe and healthy.
We look forward to helping you achieve your fertility goals in 2022!
Take a look at the Q&A below and see if your question has been asked before
Why is the Omicron variant of COVID-19 so contagious?
There are a few reasons why the Omicron variant is more contagious than past variants of COVID-19. Firstly, the mutations that have occurred in the virus have allowed it to be more efficient at infecting individuals and replicating itself. So far, the Omicron variant appears to result in more mild symptoms than previous variants. Initial research suggests that this may be because the virus cannot infect the lungs very well, so it typically stays in the upper respiratory system1. However, it is unclear how this variant will affect the unvaccinated population.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect the menstrual cycle?
When COVID-19 vaccines became available to the public, some individuals noticed changes to their menstrual cycle. Some found that their cycles were longer or shorter than usual or noticed slightly more cramping. Researchers sought out to investigate if this was a true phenomenon. A recently-published study by Edelman et al. (2022) did in fact observe a change in the menstrual cycle after vaccination against COVID-19, however the effect was small and only temporary2. On average, the first vaccine dose appeared to be associated with a cycle length increase of 0.71-day and the second dose a 0.91-day increase2. These effects appeared to diminish within two post-vaccination cycles2. While this effect may be negligible for most, this is an important finding for those who rely on accurate menstrual cycle predictions to plan or avoid pregnancy.
Can infants and young children become ill with COVID-19?
Children of any age can become ill with COVID-19, but Ontario hospitals have warned of a recent increase in infant hospitalizations. While infants becoming sick with COVID-19 was a rare occurrence earlier in the pandemic, the surge in cases of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant appears to be affecting more infants and young children. Vigilance in monitoring yourself and your children for COVID-19 symptoms is crucial. For newborns, these symptoms may manifest as a runny nose, sore throat, fever, looking or feeling lethargic, dehydration, sunken eyes or producing less than 5 wet diapers each day. For children over 1 year of age, addition symptoms may include persistent fever, lack of appetite or thirst, vomiting, severe diarrhea, dry mouth and tongue or trouble breathing.
Can COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy offer protection to my baby when it is born?
One of the best ways for parents to protect themselves and their child from COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated. This is especially the case for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, as antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine can pass to the baby through the umbilical cord and breastmilk to allow for some protection against the virus3.
When is the best time to get the COVID-19 vaccine during my pregnancy?
The best time to get the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy is now! Recent studies have found that pregnant individuals that are fully vaccinated (2 doses) pass COVID-19-fighting antibodies to their baby at the time of delivery, regardless of when they got their first dose4,5. Those who received a booster in addition to their vaccinations demonstrated the highest levels of antibodies in the blood and umbilical cord. Although some individuals feel that they should wait until the third trimester to get vaccinated so that the antibodies are more “recent” when they give birth, studies have found that this is not factual. In fact, experts suggest that it is not advisable to wait until the 3rd trimester to get vaccinated. Individuals who received two doses of the vaccine early in their pregnancy appeared to have more antibodies (and are better protected) than those who only received one dose in the third trimester.
Is the vaccine safe if I am trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding?
Absolutely! Studies have found that the COVID-19 vaccine does not pose a risk to individuals who are trying to conceive or already pregnant or their babies. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccination has any effect on male or female fertility, now or in the future. It is recommended that all individuals who are trying to conceive get vaccinated to protect themselves and their future baby from known adverse outcomes associated with contracting a COVID-19 infection. Vaccination builds antibodies that can not only decrease your risk of getting a severe infection but can also be passed to your baby through the umbilical cord and breastmilk for their protection upon delivery.
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