The HFEA has announced today (1 May 2020) that UK fertility clinics can from week commencing 11 May 2020 apply to reopen. Clinics must have a COVID-19 treatment commencement strategy in place before they can restart treatment and not all clinics will be able to resume treatment at the same time. This is positive news for fertility patients, some of whom are being severely affected by the temporary suspension of fertility treatment services.
The HFEA guidance also states:
“We know that the closure of fertility clinics due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely stressful and we are pleased that in the week commencing 11 May 2020 fertility clinics can apply to reopen. We now have a clear plan for how clinics can offer treatment safely to patients during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The safety of patients and clinic staff remains our priority. Before a clinic can resume treatment, they must demonstrate that they can provide a safe service for patients and a safe working environment for clinic staff that complies with recommendations from professional guidance.”
Legal and wider issues
The temporary cessation of fertility treatment services and ongoing challenges presented by the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to create a variety of legal and wider issues for those undertaking assisted reproduction, including:
- Problems for women facing rapidly declining age-related fertility and loss of opportunity of fertility treatment and conception.
- Legal difficulties concerning the storage and use of frozen eggs, sperm or embryos in fertility treatment.
- Unexpected death of a loved-one and related issues associated with posthumous storage and use of eggs, sperm and embryos in fertility treatment.
- Greater focus on the options and legal issues associated with fertility preservation and maximisation.
- Uncertainty around availability of egg and sperm donors and surrogates.
- Delays in medical diagnosis and consequent treatment and associated impact on individual fertility.
If you would like to discuss your situation or you require specialist fertility and family law advice and assistance please contact Louisa by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44 (0)20 7965 8399.