COVID-19 and Buffalo IVF
First Floor Clinical Space Now Open
We are excited to announce that last week we officially opened the doors to our first floor clinical space. This expansion allows us to operate on both floors of our office building, providing the safest possible environment for our patients and staff.
When scheduling your appointment, we will inform you which floor your appointment is on. Generally speaking, IVF and semen analysis patients will be upstairs, while IUI and other infertility patients will be downstairs.
If you have any questions, please call our office at (716)839-3057.
Covid-19 Update – April 17th, 2020
Re-initiation of all Fertility Treatments on May 4th, 2020
On April 7th, The New York State Department of Health (DOH) issued guidelines on what should be considered “essential sexual and reproductive health services.” These services now include infertility treatments and procedures. The DOH notes that the “ultimate decision on when such services must occur is between a patient and clinical provider.”
Meanwhile, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines, first published March 17th, continue to recommend deferring the initiation of new IVF cycles, frozen embryo transfers, ovulation induction cycles and IUI procedures.
The dichotomy between the two sets of recommendations makes it challenging to balance how we can best advocate and care for our patients while respecting the unique risks and demands of the current pandemic on our patients, staff, and community. We feel the decision to restart treatment should be regional, and specifically, each center has different abilities to enhance their ability to safely reinitiate care for their patients. After careful consideration, we plan to follow New York State guidelines and will resume all fertility treatments on May 4, 2020.
Infertility is a disease. Fertility treatments are not elective; they are medically necessary, time-sensitive procedures. We therefore praise the NYS Department of Health’s decision to include fertility treatments as essential. We’ve spent the past week carefully planning how to safely restart care for our patients, and feel we are uniquely positioned to do so.
Opening of First Floor Clinical Space
At Buffalo IVF, we have several advantages that will allow us to provide the safest possible environment for our patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to following all CDC and NYS DOH guidelines, the opening of our new first floor clinical space will enhance our ability to physically distance our patients.
Many of you may have noticed the new entrance of our completely remodeled clinical space on the first floor before ascending the stairs for your visits. This new, 3,630 square foot space, opening next week, will now afford us 2 separate waiting rooms, 2 phlebotomy labs, 7 additional exam rooms, and more clinical space to enhance physical distancing. We are excited to make use of it!
Safe Restart Strategy
1. Enhanced physical distancing. Opening our new downstairs space will enhance our ability to practice physical distancing.
2. Phone screening. We will continue screening patients by phone before their arrival and when they enter the clinic.
3. Tele-medicine. Unless it’s required that you come to the clinic, we continue to utilize tele-medicine to reduce clinic traffic while we establish and plan your care.
4. Patient scheduling. Clinic visits and procedures will now be more spaced throughout the day to reduce patient overlap.
5. Scheduled blood draws. Blood draws will now be by appointment only, further reducing patient overlap in our waiting rooms. When indicated, blood draws will be coordinated with your clinic visit, but will have a designated time before or after.
6. Increased cleaning. We will be increasing the amount of already vigorous medical grade cleaning that is being performed on common surfaces and between patients.
7. Face coverings. All providers will be wearing medical masks, and we ask that all patients wear a mask or cloth face covering (scarves, bandanas, home-made masks) while in the clinic.
8. Fewer visitors = more distancing. We ask that you arrive alone to all clinic visits, unless your partner or one support person is allowed (procedure or pregnancy ultrasound).
9. Empty waiting rooms. Our goal will be to control the flow of the clinic to keep our waiting rooms empty. When necessary, staff may direct you to wait in your car until we are ready for your appointment or procedure.
10. Teamwork. We are so grateful to our patients and staff for their understanding, patience, sacrifice, and collaboration as we continue to navigate this pandemic together.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Phlebotomy Lab Closed Until Further Notice
April 6, 2020
You may have your labs drawn at Quest Diagnostics on Sheridan Drive or Harlem Road, or a lab of your choice.
Please contact our office at 716-839-3057 to ensure that your lab order is sent to the location of your choice.
We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding! Stay safe and healthy!
COVID-19 Update - March 30, 2020
"Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a society work, a civilization work." – Vince Lombardi
As we are all now aware, COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Undoubtedly it has had a significant impact on your lives, not the least of which involves how it has impacted your efforts to start or expand your family. We realize that for those of you whose treatments have been delayed, the uncertainty of the timeline of when we can get back on track is particularly difficult. It pains us to add to the many stressors and burdens that accompany each patient’s individual struggle with infertility, but recognize that as a group we must get through this intact so that we can all move forward together.
Infertility is a disease. Fertility treatments are not elective. Our goals are the same, and we look forward to getting you back on track as soon as possible – we don’t want to delay your treatments. However, we also have a commitment to you, our staff, and a social responsibility to our community, to keep everyone healthy and safe in an effort to #flattenthecurve.
Two factors making this virus different than other seasonal viruses or the flu are that (1) it is a novel, or new, virus, to which no one has immunity, and (2) the length of time between exposure and development of symptoms is generally between three to seven days, but can be as long as 14 days. High levels of the virus are found in the mouth, nose and throat early in the course of disease, at which time the infected individual may have little or no symptoms, but is highly contagious. Because we have no reliable way of screening those who may have the virus, our best defense against it is to limit exposure altogether through social distancing and reducing patient encounters to essential visits.
During an average treatment cycle, our patients have over 30 in-person contacts within our office, including office consultations, preliminary testing, teaching visits, bloodwork, ultrasounds, and procedures. Each visit brings with it the risk that a patient without symptoms will infect others, or be infected, and in turn spread the virus to family, friends, or others in the community who may be more vulnerable. Although our patients tend to be younger and healthier, that does not mean all will have a benign course if they are infected with COVID-19; in New York City, 29% of patients admitted to the hospital are between 20 and 44 years old, with 12% of cases admitted to the ICU.
Since March 17, 2020, in accordance with ASRM guidelines, which were reinforced today, we’ve stopped initiating new cycles of IVF, embryo transfers, frozen embryo transfers (FETs), as well as ovulation induction coupled with IUI. Our patients that were in the stimulation phase of their cycles were allowed to complete their cycles (if they desired) and completed a "freeze all" for future FETs. We have also cancelled non-urgent surgeries and procedures including hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and HSGs.
Our office remains open for urgent visits, diagnostic testing, and monitoring deemed necessary to ensure our patients remain on track for their upcoming fertility treatments. All other visits are being performed using tele-medicine. We’ve embraced tele-medicine as a means to review your care and establish a plan for moving forward. These visits, performed through our electronic medical record system, provide a private, secure, face-to-face interaction that allows us to step back, regroup, and plan next steps so that we are helping you achieve your goals as soon as possible. Please contact the office to schedule a visit with one of our providers.
We must all do our part as health care providers, patients, and citizens to prevent the spread of this disease, as well as to conserve resources needed by healthcare workers treating those who are affected. This is a worldwide pandemic, the likes of which none of us have ever experienced. Unprecedented events call for unprecedented measures. We are very grateful to our patients and staff for their understanding and patience.
COVID-19 Update – March 18, 2020
On March 17, 2020, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) provided updated guidelines recommending suspension of all new and non-urgent fertility treatments.
Specifically, the guidelines include:
Suspending initiation of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilization (IVF), including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent gamete cryopreservation.
Cancellation of all embryo transfers whether fresh or frozen.
Continuation of care for patients who are currently “in-cycle” or who require urgent stimulation and cryopreservation.
Suspending elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures.
Minimizing in-person interactions and increase utilization of telehealth
The above recommendations will be revisited often as the pandemic evolves, but no later than March 30, with the aim of resuming usual patient care and all fertility treatments as soon and as safely as possible.
The highest priority of Buffalo IVF is the health and safety of our patients and employees. As part of the Buffalo community for over 20 years, we have a social responsibility to make decisions that promote public health and the best interests of our patients, staff, and everyone in our community. As such, we plan to follow the imposed guidelines.
We realize that for those of you in treatment, preparing to initiate treatment, or scheduling surgery, these recommendations are difficult to hear. We certainly empathize with the stress, sacrifice, sense of urgency, as well as the physical, emotional, and financial tolls that undergoing fertility treatments can demand. It pains us to add to that burden – we don’t want to delay your treatments.
However, we are in an inter-connected world, and our health care system is about to be stressed in unprecedented ways. We recognize that following the above guidelines will reduce unnecessary exposures and future risks that will help our health care system and our community meet this new global challenge.
Our goals are the same, and we look forward to getting your treatments back on track as soon as possible. Our office will remain open and we will continue to see both new and existing patients.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding
ASRM March 17, 2020 (asrm.org)
COVID-19 Update - March 15, 2020
Buffalo IVF is closely monitoring the evolving situation with novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We plan to remain open and provide full service fertility treatments while we rely on the latest information available from the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization), as well as our own commitment to evidence-based medicine, the health of our members, leaders and staff, and our obligation to promote public health.
In addition to our daily medical grade cleaning of our facility, we will be performing additional cleansing of surfaces and high use areas throughout the day. We ask that when visiting the Clinic, you wash your hands frequently, and make use of the many hand sanitizers located at the front desk, in exams rooms, and throughout the building. And instead of our usual handshakes or hugs, expect a friendly “elbow bump” as an added precaution.
For your safety and the safety of our staff and other patients DO NOT ENTER THE CLINIC IF:
- You have flu-like symptoms
- You have a temperature
- You have been potentially exposed to COVID-19, or may be at risk
- You have use any form of public transportation (including domestic or international air travel, bus or train) with the past 14 days.
If you meet any of the above, we ask that you inform us and postpone treatment until cleared by your primary care provider.
The CDC has not recommended against attempting to conceive naturally or with assistance. While pregnant women experience immunologic changes that may make them susceptible to respiratory illnesses and may be at higher risk for severe illness, there are not specific data on COVID-19. The CDC recommends that couples trying to conceive, as well as pregnant women, should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, like washing hands and avoiding people who are sick.
The CDC and WHO have not advised shutting down air travel within the United States, but recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel, and avoid travel to Level 3 regions (China, Iran, S. Korea, Italy) and that those with chronic medical conditions avoid Level 2 regions (Japan).
We should all recognize that the situation remains very fluid and could change rapidly.
We encourage everyone to follow the advice provided by the CDC as it relates to pregnancy and travel, available at the following links:
- Coronavirus and Pregnancy (cdc.gov)
- Coronavirus and Travel (cdc.gov)
- Coronavirus and Infertility Treatments (asrm.org)