Where things stand.

Compared to other places in the country, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in California has been blunted, in major part due to Governor Newsom and his early call to enact a shelter in place order.  California was the first state in the country to put a shelter in place order into effect on March 19.  And, despite being the state that has the highest population in the entire US, the number of deaths in California per 100,000 people has remained around 2, which is one of the lowest numbers in the country.  Compared to New York, which has seen over 16,500 deaths related to covid19, California has had just over 1,650.  Clearly, any death related to covid19 is devastating.  However, over the past month, I have personally felt quite proud to live in California and very fortunate to have government officials who truly are doing their best to protect the citizens of our state from this pandemic. 

The current discussions.

As many of you living in the Bay Area know, we have reached a point where discussions are now being had in regards to how to most safely start to resume some degree of more normal life.  Governor Newsom has outlined some key criteria that need to be met in order to consider starting to lift restrictions, which include capacity for more testing and contact tracing, ensuring protection of vulnerable population (elderly, homeless, etc), creating ways for workplaces, schools and public areas to continue social distancing, and ensuring our medical system has the capacity to deal with a rise in cases if that occurs. 

From a medical standpoint, the Department of Health in San Francisco ordered a temporary halt on elective surgical procedures and routine medical care back on March 17th around the time the shelter in place order went into effect.  However, this order lasted for 3 weeks and was not renewed back on April 7th.  

As many of you living in the Bay Area know, we have reached a point where discussions are now being had in regards to how to most safely start to resume some degree of more normal life.  Governor Newsom has outlined some key criteria that need to be met in order to consider starting to lift restrictions, which include capacity for more testing and contact tracing, ensuring protection of vulnerable population (elderly, homeless, etc), creating ways for workplaces, schools and public areas to continue social distancing, and ensuring our medical system has the capacity to deal with a rise in cases if that occurs. 

From a medical standpoint, the Department of Health in San Francisco ordered a temporary halt on elective surgical procedures and routine medical care back on March 17th around the time the shelter in place order went into effect.  However, this order lasted for 3 weeks and was not renewed back on April 7th.  

But what does this all mean with regards to fertility treatment?   

First off, all of these facts make me feel very encouraged about our capacity to safely start to help our patients restart fertility therapy.  At Kindbody San Francisco, we will be resuming some treatment cycles this week for more time-sensitive situations (older age, lower egg count, etc) where continued postponement may have a negative impact on ultimate outcome.  As we start to resume in-office visits, rest assured that we will be taking multiple precautions to mitigate the risk of virus spread, including taking temperature checks on anyone entering the office, having everyone (staff and patients) wear masks, and very frequent cleanings of every surface and exam table in the office.  For now, however, in order to minimize any crowding in our waiting area, we will continue seeing new patient consults through our virtual platform on Zoom. 

At Kindbody, we understand how stressful infertility and it’s treatment can be, and how the Coronavirus pandemic has taken this anxiety to new heights.  As I often tell my patients, one of the worst parts of infertility is feeling that you can’t control the outcome, and now the world at large is undergoing a similar experience with this pandemic, where questions about whether there will be a resurgence in cases and economic uncertainties abound.  I truly believe that taking care of our mental health is just as important (if not more!) than taking care of our physical health, so I do encourage anyone reading this to do everything possible to take steps to reduce anxiety if you are feeling overwhelmed.  Some of the best advice I have heard is to consider journaling about feelings of anxiety, talking to a close friend or family member, making sure to get enough sleep and routine exercise, and try to follow a healthy diet.  Please also know that we have licensed psychologists on staff who you can meet with virtually if you would like to talk to a mental health professional.  

We at Kindbody recognize how difficult these past weeks have been for many and want to do everything possible to support our patients through this time.  Please feel free to reach out with questions or anything we can do to continue to support you. I feel confident we will get through this situation together, and please know that we can’t wait to see you back in our offices very soon (even if it is from behind a mask)!

Dr. Serena Dovey
Dr. Serena Dovey
Dr. Serena Dovey is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist. She graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville for medical school and completed her residency in OB/GYN at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and her fellowship in REI at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Before joining Kindbody, she worked in the Reproductive Endocrinology division at the University of Colorado and served as the director of the Fertility Preservation Program. Dr. Dovey was born in Auckland, New Zealand and grew up primarily in Denver, Colorado. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga and cooking.