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Health & Fitness Coronavirus latest: IVF clinics to re-open as UK moves towards easing lockdown

12:01  02 may  2020
12:01  02 may  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

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Clinics will have to show they are meeting conditions to provide safe and effective treatment during the outbreak. The i newsletter latest news and analysis. IVF clinics across the UK can apply to reopen from 11 May, provided they can ensure social distancing and safety, the Human Fertilisation

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  Coronavirus latest: IVF clinics to re-open as UK moves towards easing lockdown © Provided by The i

Fertility services will be allowed to reopen, after being stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak, bringing hope to thousands of couples trying for a baby.

IVF clinics across the UK can apply to reopen from 11 May, provided they can ensure social distancing and safety, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has confirmed.

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All clinics will be required to set out a strategy to show they are meeting conditions to provide safe and effective treatment during the outbreak before they are given the green light to restart treatment.

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Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said: at Friday's Downing Street briefing: "Now that we are past the peak, I am delighted to announce the restoration of fertility services.

"People who are relying on fertility treatment have been worried during these unprecedented times not knowing when they could continue their journey to start a family.

“We wanted to open these clinics as soon as it was safe to do so, and our strict guidelines will ensure staff and patients remain safe as we continue to tackle this virus.”

Shutdown left thousands in limbo

Thousands were left in limbo after fertility treatments were stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The shutdown of fertility services amid the pandemic left thousands of couples fearing they will miss their last chance of becoming parents.

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Women who had already begun a cycle of treatment, which includes being injected with a fertility hormone which increases the number of eggs your ovaries produce, were also told they could not continue. Those affected say they have been left in limbo.

According to the HFEA around 75,000 treatment cycles are performed each year in the UK.

Many women had already been finding it difficult to get NHS funding for fertility treatment due to the gradual erosion of services in recent years.

Restarting treatment

Commenting on the Government's decision to reopen IVF clinics, Sally Cheshire, the chair of the HFEA, said: "Our priority throughout the pandemic has been to consider how treatment could resume quickly and safely for as many patients as possible and our clear plan sets out how clinics can treat and care for patients safely during the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

"I know that the closure of clinics has been extremely distressing for patients and this will be good news for those wanting to resume treatment and have the opportunity to try for their much longed for family."

Many private clinics may be able to demonstrate their readiness to restart services relatively quickly, but it’s recognised that NHS clinics may require longer to achieve the necessary conditions due to other factors, such as the redeployment of staff in frontline roles.

This follows news last week that the government will allow anyone who has frozen their eggs, sperm and embryos to extend their storage for an additional two years, as part of wider plans to support those going through fertility treatment during the global coronavirus pandemic.

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