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    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Physics Reports. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Physics Reports, 373, 4-5, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/S0370-1573(02)00269-7

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Non-essential treatment?: Sub-fertility in the time of COVID-19 (and beyond)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Reproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number3
Volume41
Number of pages3
Pages (from-to)543-545
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date31/08/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The extremely difficult circumstances that fertility patients find themselves in force them to reconcile with acute losses and profound uncertainties. Sometimes what hurts the most is the loss of the child desired and imagined (Lesnik-Oberstein, 2008), which becomes a tangible loss in the event of a failed implantation or a miscarriage. Sometimes it is the loss of a partner due to the strain that fertility treatments can put on a relationship (Martins et al., 2014). In other instances, uncertainty about the outcome of treatment can become unbearable. The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in the first few months of 2020 confronted fertility patients with a new set of losses and uncertainties that came suddenly and unexpectedly. Due to the implementation of stringent social distancing measures and the suspension of ‘non-essential’ medical treatments and procedures, fertility treatments were halted in the USA, the UK and other European countries, (Ferguson, 2020; Miller, 2020). At the time of writing, many countries have slowly moved towards allowing fertility clinics to resume their activities. However, given the disruption caused, my contention in this brief commentary is that it is necessary to engage in conversations on the social value of offering fertility treatments and on whether it is justifiable to suspend them in the event of a health crisis of this proportion.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Reproductive BioMedicine Online. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 41, 3, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.07.029