NHS fertility treatment to resume for unvaccinated women
Temporary pause lifted after review of emerging evidence.
Women who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to resume NHS fertility treatment, after an updated review of the evidence about the risk to those planning pregnancy.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith has written to NHS Chief Executives and health boards to advise that clinicians should resume treatment for this group, while continuing to advise patients of the risks of not being vaccinated.
Women will also be asked to sign an informed consent form acknowledging they are aware of these risks.
Professor Sir Gregor Smith said:
“When I recommended a pause in fertility treatment in January for women who are not fully vaccinated, I said that would be reviewed alongside emerging evidence of risk and levels of COVID in the community.
“Data from Public Health Scotland demonstrates that both COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are stabilising, and a reduced proportion of cases are resulting in hospitalisations, following the emergence of Omicron as the dominant variant.
“While data specifically on pregnant women is very limited, the available data on unvaccinated individuals suggests that the risk of severe disease requiring hospital or critical care admission has reduced over the last four to six weeks.
“I am recommending that this treatment can recommence so long as women affected are fully informed both of the risks of non-vaccination and also of the extensive evidence concerning the safety of vaccines in pregnant women, those planning pregnancy or undergoing fertility treatment.
“I strongly support the recommendation that people get the vaccine when offered. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility in women or men.”
The deferral of NHS fertility treatment for patients who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against Covid-19 was introduced in light of evidence of the possible risk to pregnant women and the prevailing levels of COVID-19 at the time.
While JCVI advice states that pregnant women should be considered as a clinical risk group for COVID, the available data on unvaccinated individuals suggests that the risk of severe disease requiring hospital or critical care admission has reduced over the last four to six weeks.
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