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Treatment Deferral for Unvaccinated Patients

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The latest information from UK studies (UKOSS) shows clear evidence of the real world effectiveness of vaccination against covid in pregnancy. More than 98% of seriously ill women with covid-19 in pregnancy have been unvaccinated. Of 235 women admitted to intensive care, only 3 had received a single dose of vaccine, and none had received both doses. Data from MBRRACE-UK also shows that maternal deaths from covid-19 continue to occur, with more deaths in the third (Delta) wave of infection than either of the two previous waves, again with most women unvaccinated. All pregnant women are recommended to have a covid vaccine by the RCM (Royal College of Midwives) and RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists).

In light of current evidence, the speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading through communities and uncertainties regarding the implication of infection with the Omicron variant for pregnant women and their babies, fertility treatment for unvaccinated women in Scotland will be deferred with immediate effect. We will review this decision on 1 March 2022 (or earlier if appropriate). Those who have their treatment deferred will have this time added back to their fertility journey to ensure that they do not lose out on eligibility for treatment due to their age.

Women who are within 12 weeks of having their second Covid vaccine dose or who have had their booster will continue their treatment as normal. For those who have recently had or are about to receive their booster vaccination, treatment can begin 10 days after the booster vaccination has been received. Positions on waiting lists will not be penalised if extra time is needed for vaccination.

 

More information and guidance from the Scottish Government is available and can be found here.

 

FAQs

Why have I been told about this only now?

Apologies for this but this, we fully appreciate this is disappointing. However, it is a new variant. We are learning as new data is coming in. 

We are not cancelling your treatment but deferring. This is to protect you and your baby. Our overall aim of the treatment is to have a healthy mum and a healthy baby.

How long the treatment will be deferred/ postponed?

We are reviewing the situation regularly and will be guided by the data. We are closely working with other clinics across Scotland as well as the Scottish Government and patient groups. Currently we are saying deferral until March 2022 but if anything changes earlier we would be in touch. 

It is our personal choice to get vaccinated or not. Why are you forcing us to get vaccinated?

You are absolutely right that it is your personal choice. We are not forcing you to have the vaccinations. All we are saying is that we cannot proceed with treatment due to the risks involved, as is evident from data coming in. 

JCVI has put pregnant women in high-risk category. Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Royal College of Midwives and the Scottish Government all are advising vaccinations, including boosters for pregnant women.

The aim of the treatment is to have a healthy mum and a healthy baby and not to compromise your health.

I am self-funding, why does policy apply to me?

As this is based on clear clinical advice around the risks for this group of women and the decision is based on protecting this group, this policy applies to all patients having treatment in Fertility Centres, not just NHS patients. 

Wil iI be asked to provide evidence? 

No, but you will be asked to sign a disclaimer. 

If I wait, I will be more than 40. This will compromise my funding status? 

No this will not compromise your funding status. You will be entitled for what you are entitled now. You will not be disadvantaged.

 

We fully appreciate that this is very distressing news and may have come as a shock to read this new position re vaccination and treatment. If you think it might be beneficial to meet with our counsellor, please do not hesitate to contact us by email - Tay.acusecretarial@nhs.scot

We will respond to your email as soon as possible thereafter.