December 17, 2020 – COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendation for Patients

We at SRM are continually reviewing the availability, safety, and efficacy of the recently available COVID-19 vaccines. A practice management and clinical recommendation update was issued by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM Update No. 11) on December 16, 2020 regarding the two-dose Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. These recommendations are consistent with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

Patients who are planning to conceive, who are currently pregnant, and who are lactating should be offered the vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been adequately studied in pregnant women. Therefore there is insufficient data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in pregnancy at this time. The FDA requires post-authorization observational studies in pregnancy so more information will become available. As data on the vaccine continues to emerge, counseling is expected to change.

The COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines that do not contain live virus. They do not enter the nucleus of the cell and therefore cannot alter human DNA. They are not thought to cause infertility, first or second trimester pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies.

Factors to consider for decision making include:

  • What are the local virus transmission rates in the community?
  • What is your personal risk of contracting COVID-19 based on occupational and other activities?
  • What is the efficacy of the vaccine?
  • What are the risks of the COVID-19 disease process for the pregnant patient and fetus?
  • What is the safety profile of the vaccine?

Pregnancy appears to be a risk factor for more severe disease symptoms with COVID-19.

Side effects from the vaccine appear to be injection site swelling or mild flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, chills, muscle/joint pain, low grade fever, most resolving within 3 days of the injection.

Fever has been seen in about 16% of vaccinated persons, mostly after the second dose. While fever in the first trimester has been associated with an increased risk of congenital anomalies, more recent and robust studies have not supported this claim. Moreover, fever has been seen in over 80% of patients with COVID 19. Acetaminophen should be used to treat fever in pregnancy. Fever, as a potential side effect of the vaccine, should not cause delay in a pregnant patient obtaining the first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to ASRM, patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccine administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.

You may discuss any questions or concerns regarding vaccination with your provider. Consultation is not necessary before receiving the vaccine.

November 16, 2020 – COVID-19 update – Holiday Travel

We care deeply about the health and well-being of our patients and staff. COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising, and we must take all precautions to ensure the safety of our clinics and our ability to provide responsible care for as many patients as possible.

Following Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee’s, advisory on Sunday, 11/15, SRM advises the following:

· Do not travel or attend gatherings with people outside your immediate household for the upcoming holidays and until restrictions are lifted. If this is not avoidable, SRM asks that you postpone your treatment cycle until at least 14 days after the event. Please review this link. 

· If living out-of-state, due to travel and quarantine recommendations in place through December 14th, please call and speak with your physician or nurse to determine your best treatment options, including postponing your treatment cycle.

SRM will continue with our current measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 including: appointment and door screenings, extensive disinfection of our facilities, and mask wearing for all appointments. It is important to note that we continue to enforce that all appointment types are for patients only. Partners, friends, and family members will not be allowed to attend in person. We appreciate your understanding and participation in community safety.

June 1, 2020 – Update – All Fertility Services are Now Available

Starting this month, we are seeing patients for all types of fertility services.  We no longer have restrictions on treatment cycles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All SRM locations are also now open regular hours. While we are very excited about these updates, we remain very much committed to the safety of our patients and staff, and are actively following steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Please remember that we require all patients to wear their own cloth masks to appointments. Appointments are also limited to the patient only, which understandably can be difficult, but does reduce the number of people in the clinic, and allows for appropriate social distancing. Please review the other steps we are taking to provide a safe environment in the May 4th update below.

We continue to offer telemedicine video or phone visits for all new patient and follow-up appointments. Please call our main line at 206.301.5000 to schedule a New Patient Consultation with any of our Reproductive Endocrinologists.

May 14, 2020 – Update – Telemedicine New Patient Consultations

Optimizing your Telemedicine Consult – Dr. Nichole Barker has created an informative blog post with quick tips and a FAQ. It’s been about 2 months since we, at SRM, have had to pivot and go virtual with all of our consultations due to the coronavirus.  This has helped tremendously at decreasing foot traffic in the clinic, so we can adhere to social distancing and decreasing risk to our patients and staff.

Telemedicine BLOG POST – link here

May 4, 2020 – Update

We are happy to report that we have begun to reintroduce most patient services, especially for patients whose treatment is time-sensitive or has been delayed.

We continue to offer telemedicine video or phone visits – We are able to safely consult with patients to discuss their specific history and make recommendations for a personalized care plan from the comfort of their home.

All in-person appointments – These are scheduled to maintain appropriate distancing, patients and staff wear cloth face coverings or masks, and all persons entering the clinic must complete and pass screening. All patients receive counseling regarding COVID and pregnancy and engage in shared decision-making about their treatment plan.

The safety of our patients and staff is our foremost concern. Therefore, we have taken the following steps in response:

  • Advanced symptom screening is sent via the portal prior to appointments and patients are screened again in person before entering the clinic.
  • Staff is screened daily before entering the clinic and many work remotely to allow for social distancing. All staff are wearing masks in clinic areas and in their interactions with patients.
  • Appointments are limited to the patient only, which understandably can be difficult, but does reduce the number of people in the clinic.
  • We require all patients wear their own cloth masks to appointments.
  • We are regularly sanitizing our common areas, equipment, and patient rooms.
  • We are minimizing the number of patients in waiting areas and limit wait times. Signs have been placed on the floor to indicate where to wait at a healthy distance to check-in at the front desk. SRM staff will encourage moving patients to a different area of the clinic should the waiting area get too full.

APRIL 27, 2020 – Update – Kirkland and Everett locations

As of April 27th, all six SRM locations are open, Kirkland and Everett locations are now currently seeing patients. All locations are operating at limited capacity. The health and safety of our patients and staff is our priority, spreading out appointment times allows us to achieve the best results for social distancing within the clinic space.

We are now accepting new patients through telemedicine or phone consultation. We know this is a stressful time and infertility is time sensitive, we are committed to continuing to provide you with the valuable expertise you deserve.

Schedule a telemedicine appointment to talk with one of our expert physicians about your reproductive goals and put a plan in place.

Call our main line at 206.301.5000 to schedule.

MARCH 25, 2020 – Update – Telemedicine appointments available

The health and safety of our patients, community and staff is our priority. Due to the COVID-19 “Stay home, Stay healthy” order, we are now accepting new patients through telemedicine or phone consultation. We know this is a stressful time and infertility is time sensitive, we are committed to continuing to provide you with the valuable expertise you deserve.

Schedule a telemedicine appointment to talk with one of our expert physicians about your reproductive goals and put a plan in place.

Call our main line at 206.301.5000 to schedule.

MARCH 18, 2020 – Update

On March 17, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued recommendations for fertility centers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the global community, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to help slow and limit the spread of this disease.  We will therefore temporarily postpone the initiation of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization.

We are offering telemedicine consultations for new and established patients so that you may resume evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. We will continue to offer urgent services for our patients with medical and obstetrical concerns related to fertility treatments.

We are committed to resume full services as soon as it is prudent according to the guidance of our public health officials and in our best judgement.  We are evaluating the situation daily and will post changes to this website as new information becomes available.

For additional information, please refer to our online FAQ or contact us directly.  We wish all of you safe passage through these uncertain times.

The SRM Team

MARCH 18, 2020 – Update Cont.

Direct Link to the our Frequently Asked Questions.

MARCH 13, 2020 – Update

The health and well-being of our patients and staff is SRM’s highest priority.  The physician and leadership team is working diligently to stay informed on the emerging scientific developments and evolving guidance from our local and national leaders in public health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pregnancy and COVID-19—what we know and don’t know:

Risk to mother: Because COVID-19 is so new, there is limited information available about the risks to the mother and fetus if contracted during pregnancy.  In general, pregnant women are more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, and may be at risk for more severe illness.  Initial published data are reassuring for the severity of illness for pregnant women with COVID-19, but these data are very limited.

Risk to fetus: There is even less information available about risks to the fetus when the virus is contracted during the first or second trimester. Data from other similar illnesses are reassuring, suggesting no increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects.  However, with other viral illnesses (such as SARS), if the infection is severe, increased risks including miscarriage and preterm birth have been observed.

Things to consider:

We intend to remain open and are committed to providing ongoing care with your safety in mind. Should you choose to postpone your treatment, please contact your care team.

If you have a fever of 100.4 F or greater, especially if associated with respiratory symptoms, notify your care team and do not come into the clinic.  It will be necessary to interrupt ongoing treatment if you may be infectious. This should be a consideration as you decide whether to postpone your fertility treatment.

Strict personal hygiene (especially hand-washing) and avoiding potential exposures are the most important measures you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community.

What we are doing:

We are committed to help control the spread of COVID-19 by complying with guidance to maximize social distancing.

For patients who prefer not to come to an in-person visit, we will be offering phone appointments.  If you would like to change an existing appointment to phone, please contact us.

We have directed our nurses and financial counselors to shift primarily to phone and online communication.

You have the option to wait for your provider in adjacent spaces in the building to minimize crowding in the reception area.

To help us with these efforts, we must ask that you continue to observe our policy that children are not to accompany you to the clinic.

We have implemented additional measures for disinfecting common areas and have reinforced infection control procedures with all our staff.

We understand this situation may add worry to an already stressful time.  Our counselors are available should you need any additional support.   As always, if you have any questions regarding your treatment plan and timeline, please reach out to discuss your individual situation with a member of your care team.

The SRM Physician and Leadership Team

MARCH 3, 2020 – Update

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person and it has now been confirmed within our region.  This is an emerging epidemic and we are monitoring and following the most up-to-date recommendations from the Department of Health (DOH) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  SRM cares deeply about the health and well-being of our patients, our staff, and our community.

The same good health habits that prevent other viruses like the flu, also prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Common signs of infection include fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough and shortness of breath.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your care team and do not come into the clinic. 

For the most current information about COVID-19 and recommendations for keeping yourself and your family healthy, we recommend these resources:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Seattle & King County Public Health

If you have questions, please call the Washington State Department of Health at 1(800) 525-0127.

If you have overseas travel plans, we encourage you to visit the CDC travel site.