With Sydney and many parts of NSW now officially out of lockdown, many couples are eager to start their families through IVF fertility treatment.
An IVF clinic with a large invoice in Sydney has seen a huge increase in IVF interest in September and expects a further increase in October.
“In fact, we saw inquiries doubled during September at the back of the NSW government, which published details of Freedom Day,” Connect IVF CEO Brendan Ayres tells 9Honey Parenting.
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This increased demand was also due in part to the partial and temporary suspension of Sydney’s public IVF clinics in hospitals such as Westmead, Royal Hospital for Women and the RPA Fertility Unit.
“We received some public hospital patients who had their IVF treatments postponed as part of the government’s suspension of non-essential surgery,” Ayres said.
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, fertility treatments were delayed for some patients, even at private clinics.
Although the delays were relatively short, other challenges continued, such as patients not being able to bring their partners into treatments.
“During the lockdown, many patients started their IVF journey but were reluctant to undertake an IVF cycle due to uncertainty about their ability to travel outside of their LGA and uncertainty about their jobs and their income after the lockdown,” Ayres explained.
However, this conversation has already turned around with many now seeking to start their IVF cycle now that the lockdown has ended in NSW.
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It is a trend that has been noticed across the fertility industry.
“For many couples, COVID-19 has meant insecurity, more people working from home, but also getting people to value the family unit more than ever, with many making plans for baby care,” says the medical director of Queensland Fertility Group Associate Professor Anusch Yazdani told 9Honey Parenting.
“We hear from patients that the foreign travel ban has meant that funds normally set aside for holidays are now allocated to health and fertility.”
According to Ayres, nurses on Connect IVF heard firsthand the extra stress COVID has put on the mental and financial health of couples considering IVF.
“Time is a critical factor for fertility, which is why lockdown has been such a challenging time for those who want to start a family,” he explained with a message to hopeful couples.
“Do not shoot at starting a family, if at all possible. Your fertility watch keeps ticking during COVID lockdowns.”
Interestingly, there has also been a dramatic increase in women freeze their eggs due to COVD-19.
“That Queensland Fertility Group has seen an 18 percent increase in egg freezing in 2020 compared to 2019, “said Professor Yazdani.
Experts believe this may be because dating was replaced by zooms during lockdowns and women had time to assess their priorities.
“With ongoing lockdowns, the pandemic has created a ‘break’ year for many women with fewer opportunities to form relationships – but aging has not stopped!”, Said Professor Yazdani.
For more information on Connect IVF, visit connectivf.com.au
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