Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Thank you for the opportunity to provide your reproductive care. As we monitor global and local developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), our priority at The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services (CARS) remains the health and safety of our patients and staff, as well as providing you with a positive experience.  To comply with guidance from the CDC, WHO, and local public health authorities, we are enhancing our screening policies.  These safety precautions will be reviewed by our medical advisory board daily.

Update 5.20.2020

In Vitro Fertilization Cycle Starts
We resumed IVF starts May 11 on a limited basis to test the system relative to CT State COVID 19 data, personal protective equipment [PPE] supplies and new operational systems designed to keep patients and staff safe. The plan is to re-evaluate the situation in a month [around June 15]. Our hope is provided all things continue to move in a positive direction, we will be able to resume normal IVF volumes sometime in June/July.

COVID 19 Testing for IVF patients
This is a fluid situation due to the availability of tests and timely results. As of 5/19/20, we are requiring IVF patients have at least one COVID 19 negative test between Baseline and day of Retrieval. Our staff will provide you with testing site options and instructions on the day of Baseline. As testing options improve we hope to move to testing day of Baseline and then again within 48 hours of Retrieval. Any patients testing COVID 19 positive during an IVF cycle will be managed on a case per case basis.

Update 4.23.2020

Virtual Waiting Room
In order to maintain social distancing and control traffic through the building, we are asking patients who are coming to the offices to remain in their car until we are ready for their visit to start. Once you arrive to the office parking lot, please text your name only to one of the numbers below. A member of the staff will call you to begin the check-in process and/or text when you may enter the building.

Farmington                           860.470.4679

Hartford & New London         860.704.9160

Branford                               860.704.9221

Resuming Operations

On behalf of The Center for Advanced Reproductive Services [CARS], we hope in the midst of these challenging times this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy.  As Connecticut is now experiencing a flattening in the number of new COVID-19 cases and a decrease in hospitalizations, we are writing to update you regarding the resumption of fertility treatments at CARS.

At each CARS office, policies & procedures are being developed to optimize physical distancing and other mitigation strategies to minimize the risk of exposure for patients and staff. Our goals over the next couple of months are:

•Resume operations at approximately 50% of normal volumes for IUI & IVF until we are certain Connecticut has successfully flattened the curve and we have had a chance to refine our new COVID – 19 office procedures. The clinical team will be prioritizing patient starts during this time.

•Maintain strong social distancing standards for patients and staff.

•Implement strong personal protective equipment [PPE] and mitigation strategies to limit risk of exposure for patients & staff.

Tentative Schedule

•Monday, April 27:  Resume sono-hystograms, hysterosalpingogram [HSG], trial transfers, pregnancy scans, and semen analysis.

•Monday, May 4: Resume intra uterine insemination [IUI] cycle starts, frozen embryo transfer [FET] starts, endocrine blood testing, clinical follow-up appointments for Telehealth patients

•Monday, May 11: Resume in vitro fertilization [IVF] cycle starts.

Practicing medicine, especially fertility treatments, in a COVID – 19 world is going to look and feel very different than it did a month ago. There are a number of interventions we are implementing as part of our efforts to keep everyone safe.

Patient Visits

•Effective immediately all patient visits at CARS will be scheduled at a specific time. This includes morning ultrasound and blood monitoring, and Quest blood draws throughout the day. No more walk-ins of any kind.

•For the time being all new patient visits, IVF consultations [1B] and established subsequent office visits will be telehealth via Microsoft TEAMS.

•MD clinic visits on site will be limited to ultrasounds, procedures, emergencies and clinical follow up appointments for telehealth patients.

•Every attempt will be made for onsite visits to be as efficient as possible. There will be limited on-site counseling and instructions. Discussions can occur immediately following your visit with a call from your car or we can call you later when you’ve arrived home. Our doctors and nurses will have access to Microsoft TEAMS for video conferencing.

•Semen analysis appointments will be scheduled and patients asked to produce at home. Specimen collection kits will be provided to patients in advance via a repository by front doors at each office.

•Please stay in contact with us and call your nurse or financial services representative [FSR] when you intend to start a cycle.  Your physician team will review your personal case and follow up with next steps.

•All patients undergoing care once we go back up will be required to provide an active credit card on file so we can run co-pays, deductibles, etc so front desk and financial staff are protected from handling credit cards, money, checks, etc.

Health Screening

Staff and patients are asked about relevant exposure and health information upon entry into the offices daily and temperatures are being assessed. All staff and patients must wear a mask at all time when in our offices. If you have a mask at home [homemade cloth masks are fine] we ask that you use it or one will be provided.

We will get thru this together

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things including the way we practice fertility medicine, but one thing that has not changed is our commitment to helping our patients build families. We have been thinking about you during this difficult time and eagerly look forward to safely making your family building dreams come true. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Paul Verrastro, CARS CEO at 860.321.7082, EXT 8005.

Thank you.

COVID-19 AND HOW IT IS AFFECTING US AND YOUR CARE (4.14.2020)

Click here to read this article by John C. Nulsen, MD
Medical Director, Center for Advanced Reproductive Services
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

COVID – 19 Update 3.30.2020

We are here for you. The Center continues to be operational. All MD patient visits have been transitioned to phone calls or video conferencing. You can call our main number to schedule.

Each of our offices is open with minimal staff to address urgent and emergent patient care needs ie, pregnancy scans, pain, bleeding, oncofertility, etc.

The majority of our dedicated staff are working remotely from home but are available to you by dialing our main number.

Please be advised all our doors are locked so to control screening and admission into the offices. There are intercoms or numbers on the front doors to call for entry. Upon entry, you will be screened for social/health history and temperature before being allowed into any clinical area.

If you are coming to the office we ask that you come alone. If you need a partner to drive you they must wait in the car or a waiting room but will not be allowed into the clinical areas.

Urgent blood draws continue in Farmington 9:30 am – 3 pm.

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation. We miss you all!

COVID – 19 Update 3.22.2020

All MDs and APRNs will maintain their clinical schedules, however effective immediately all visits will be conducted virtually [phone or video conference]. Our front desk will reach out to all scheduled patients to coordinate. Confirmatory Pregnancy Scans will continue on-site as scheduled so long as the patient passes health/social and temperature screenings.

Center location schedules:

•Monday – Friday: Full phone services and essential/emergent office visits only. Clinical team will determine essential/emergent versus non-emergent. Any patients who are displaying flu-like symptoms and need to be seen emergently will be triaged to UCONN Health for care.

•New London will close once IVF is done which we now predict to be Wednesday, March 26.

•As of Sunday, March 22, 5 pm Center’s Farmington location will be closed on weekends except for essential/emergent patient visits. Clinical team will determine essential/emergent versus non-emergent. On weekends please call 860.321.7082 and answering service will contact administrator or MD on call. Any patients who are displaying flu-like symptoms and need to be seen emergently will be triaged to UCONN Health for care.

•Each Center location will be operating at minimum staffing levels onsite, as our goal is to have 50% of staff functioning virtually from home. If you are expecting a call back from us these calls may show up as Caller Unknown or Caller ID Blocked.

•Effective immediately any persons [staff, patient, vendor] entering a Center location will be temperature and health/social screened before being allowed to enter any clinical area. Any patients who are displaying flu-like symptoms and need to be seen emergently will be triaged to UConn Health for care.

COVID – 19 Update 3.18.2020

•Blood draw services are up and running for “essential” blood draws only. The Center’s clinical team will determine if a blood draw is essential.

•All MDs and APRNs will maintain their clinical schedules, however effective immediately all visits will be conducted virtually [phone or video conference]. Our front desk will reach out to all scheduled patients to coordinate.

•All Center locations will remain open. New London will close once IVF is done which we predict will be Thursday, March 26.

•Each Center location will be operating at minimum staffing levels onsite, as by Monday our goal is to have 50% of staff functioning virtually from home.

•Effective immediately, all emergent patients will be seen in Farmington only.

COVID-19 UPDATE: 3/17/2020

In response to Federal and local guidelines, The Center is taking the following steps in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.

IVF Cycles

•Effective 3.17.20 we are temporarily suspending IVF starts.

•Anyone already started and allowed to go to retrieval will be a freeze all regardless of current treatment plan.

•3.17.20 will be the last day for transfers, fresh or frozen until further notice.

•We will continue to provide IVF care and treatment to oncofertility patients.

IUI cycles

•Effective 3.17.20 we are temporarily suspending IUI starts. All IUIs are canceled until further notice.

Andrology

•Beginning 3.18.20 all non-emergent semen analysis will be canceled until further notice. Emergent cases will be those associated with ongoing treatment cycle, oncofertility or transgender transition.

MD Patient Schedules

•Effective immediately all established patient visits will be transitioned to a phone call.

•All Pregnancy scans will continue as scheduled.

•Over the next couple of days, we will post more information on MD Schedules.

If you are impacted by any of the above and have questions or concerns please call your Center nurse. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Please review the following questions prior to any upcoming visits:

1. Have you OR your partner traveled internationally within the last 15 days?

2. Have you OR your partner had any close contact with or provided care to any person who has traveled internationally within the last 15 days OR has a fever or flu-like symptoms OR has been “self-quarantined”?  The CDC characterizes contact with an individual as coming within six feet (2 meters] of a person.

3. Do you OR your partner have a fever or other flu-like symptoms? (Flu-like symptoms includes fatigue, body aches, cough, shortness of breath, etc.)

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, please contact your CARS nurse immediately and before coming into the office for any scheduled visits.

For Your Visit at The Center

1.  If you answer yes to any of the self-screening questions, you must call the office before coming in.

2. To decrease the waiting room traffic and unnecessary social exposure, we are encouraging nursing and finance phone calls rather than in-person visits.

3. Effective immediately, we are discouraging patients from bringing partners, friends, and family members to follow-up visits and AM monitoring visits.

4. Effective immediately there will be no Satellite/Outside Monitoring Patients.

5. Outside Community Andrology patient appointments will be postponed until April with the exception of indications for oncofertility and transitioning transgender patients.

6. Patients with flu-like symptoms including fatigue, body aches, fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc. will not be allowed in any CARS location until further notice.

For IVF Patients

COVID-19 tends to be associated with serious illness primarily in older people or those with underlying health issues, and as of now, there is no evidence of any fetal harm like was seen with the Zika Virus.

Our current situation is fluid, so we cannot make guarantees or promises of anything but that we will make a best effort to keep our patients safe and help them achieve their goals as efficiently as possible.

However, someone could start an IVF cycle non-symptomatic and develop symptoms mid-cycle which would cause us to cancel the cycle. Putting off cycling until COVID – 19 passes is an option that may be available to some patients in whom the age-related decline in oocyte quality is less of a pressing issue. Should our patients initiate a cycle and need to be canceled, we will make every effort to minimize out of pocket expenses.

We have also increased secondary health screening requirements. In advance of visiting one of our offices, patients will be asked questions regarding symptoms and travel history and may be sent home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms or fever.

You can contribute to a healthy environment by taking a few simple steps:

•Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom and before any meal or snack.

•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (or with your upper sleeve) if you happen to sneeze. Avoid sneezing or coughing into your hands or without covering your nose and mouth.

•Use hand sanitizer as often as possible. Rub the gel thoroughly, and in-between your fingers, until your hands are dry.

We have elected to take these precautionary steps due to the recent increase in coronavirus cases around the world and in Connecticut, to help avoid the spread of the virus and to ensure the continued safety of our patients and staff.  Your health and success is our priority.

If you have any further questions regarding your care, cycle, or how this may affect you as a patient please call us at 860.321.7082.

Please carefully review other Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) resources on this page.

Coronavirus Fact Sheet

Handwashing and sanitizer videos from the Center for Disease Control  [CDC]   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnSjFr6J9HI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PmVJQUCm4E

https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/training/interactiveEducation/frame.htm