Navigating assisted reproduction treatment in the time of COVID-19: concerns and considerations

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2020 Nov;37(11):2663-2668. doi: 10.1007/s10815-020-01942-z. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled numerous debates in the field of assisted reproductive technology (ART) as the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on pregnancy and infancy is still considered uncharted territory. Various theses and recommendations on what optimal practice is have emerged, as evidenced by surveys, webinars, and recent publications. ART specialists are faced with dilemmas in light of the lack of concrete scientific evidence required to pave the way towards future safe practice. Meanwhile, infertile couples were similarly left in limbo unable to exercise their reproductive autonomy unlike fertile couples-where achieving a pregnancy via natural conception is a matter of decision. ART treatment being classified as non-essential has only recently re-started, facing new challenges while enabling pregnancy at a time of uncertainty. This article highlights matters of bioethical nature to be considered in the ART world at the time of COVID-19 while presenting an all-inclusive critique of the current status. When pursuing pregnancy through IVF treatment during the pandemic, distancing and caution have the lead role in an effort to defend the health of the intended parents and future children. To promote patient autonomy along with our ethical, moral, and legal duty towards our patients, emphasis should be given on ascertaining shared decision-making, and ensuring that an appropriate all-inclusive informed consent is signed prior to initiating any IVF treatment.

Keywords: Professional ethics; Public health; Reproductive technologies; Right to health care.

MeSH terms

  • Coronavirus Infections
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19