University Reproductive Associates offers hope and help for those dealing with infertility during the COVID-19 pandemic
The stress and anxiety of infertility often brings with it hard questions: Will I ever become pregnant? What will fertility treatment entail? Will my relationship with my spouse or partner suffer?
Those questions have been answered thousands of times by Peter McGovern, MD, a board-certified OB/GYN and the co-founder of University Reproductive Associates (URA), during his 25-plus years as a fertility specialist.
“There is substantial fear about the process of receiving fertility care,” the reproductive endocrinologist said. “People don’t understand what’s possible, and they often feel devastated that they may need medical assistance to achieve something that they think should be ‘basic.’ It’s a big frustration, but people dealing with fertility issues shouldn’t lose hope.”
New concerns rising from the COVID-19 pandemic have made addressing infertility more difficult, and Dr. McGovern and his colleagues at University Reproductive Associates have worked to address them.
“People’s lives have been upended, and all of us are living in a new reality we’ve never seen,” he said. “On top of that, those dealing with fertility issues are wondering how this virus will affect their treatment and pregnancy. COVID essentially has doubled the anxiety some fertility patients already felt.”
URA clinicians and staff have worked tirelessly to address all patient concerns and provide essential care in a safe and reassuring environment.
When the pandemic forced New Jersey to impose social distancing restrictions and mandatory shutdowns in March, URA immediately worked to improve the already rigorous cleaning and sanitization protocols employed at its Hasbrouck Heights, Hoboken and Wayne offices. The practice also adopted other safety approaches recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Jersey Department of Health, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). These changes allowed patients who were at critical points in their care to see URA physicians. By mid-April, when scientific evidence was able to provide reassurance about pregnancy and the risks associated with COVID-19, URA began scheduling in-office visits for more patients, in addition to the telehealth appointments it conducts for patients who do not need a physical examination or sonogram at a particular visit.
Today, URA has established “a new normal” that allows it to provide patients with needed care promptly and safely, rather than having to defer their pursuit of pregnancy and their dream of having a child.
“There are temperature checks and mandatory face coverings, and many of the other steps you will encounter at all medical facilities. In addition, we have taken several steps specific to the nature of our practice, such as operating a high-technology disinfection system for the air in our embryology labs and using a highly effective, safe disinfectant for vaginal sonogram probes,” Dr. McGovern said.
In addition, telehealth visits have the advantage of enabling spouses or partners to join patients for consultations while also eliminating travel time. Dr. McGovern said that based on its experience, URA envisions offering the virtual sessions on an ongoing basis. Two other components of URA’s approach to providing comprehensive, compassionate care that will continue going forward, just as they did before the pandemic, are the practice’s provision of free initial consultations for patients without insurance to evaluate their options and the extended support provided to patients throughout the insurance process.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has been a time of great anxiety and sorrow. As reproductive endocrinology specialists, we have long experience in helping patients address those emotions. We also are adept at providing fertility care in the setting of other medical conditions and concerns. By employing evidence-based approaches to safeguarding patient health and providing effective treatment, we have been able to help many women become pregnant during these difficult months. Enabling people to experience the joy of having a child is why all of us here do what we do, and while it provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment at any time and in any circumstance, it has been particularly meaningful this year.”
For more information on University Reproductive Associates, call (201) 288-6330. Offices in Hasbrouck Heights, Hoboken and Wayne. visit www.uranj.com.