Dr Richa Sharma, Dr Amit Basnotra
Corona is a new kind of virus and a pandemic which whole world is facing with new normal which we are trying to adapt slowly with some universal precautions to be followed irrespective as we are facing something which is invisible and which we don’t know even completely and has gone through various phases till development of vaccines with various new updates coming up every now and then from various fertility and healthcare centres all over the world but its still not understood completely with lots of ifs and buts and will definitely take time
Long Term Impacts Of Corona-
Corona Pandemic is definitely going to have long term impact on all aspects and even if we analyse last nine months, there is a decline in the birth rate with huge drop in the percentage of couples planning pregnancy rather as Doctor we have in the start got many requests for contraception and even many thought in the direction of termination of pregnancy.There is a steep decline in couples seeking high end treatments especially those who are aware and informed but definitely the biological clock keeps running so it’s a very stressful situation for many especially those who are in advanced age group and had firm plans for growing family in 2020.With many guidelines and recommendations issued by the various national and international bodies, it was a very tough call for both the childless couples and the treating physicians and unfortunately dilemma still contuining as it’s a largely undiscovered virus and a crisis causing long term impact on the birth rate
Reasons of decline in Birth Rate
Aprroximately 30% have changed their family plans in corona pandemic
As per a latest survey,of those who said they were changing their plans:
* Almost half (48%) decided to delay having kids
* 26% became unsure about having kids altogether
* 25% decided to accelerate their timelines for kids
So topmost reasons can be-
Finances – as we see lots of people lost jobs and still losing making them difficult to even meet their both ends meet
Uncertainity- To be frank no one knows the course of this novice virus and what impact it will have on current and future generation
Safe Healthcare facilities- with so many frequent lockdowns with many small set ups being shut down which were in reach earlier to public, so people not sure as if they plan pregnancy, will they be able to access the required facilities in a safe manner and what risk the pregnant mother and her baby carries as exposure to corona and will there be any impact on the newborn child? So many aspects, no one is clear as it’s a new virus which world never faced before, so parenting has taken a backseat in lives of many, so assumptions of baby boom has taken a reverse course
Corona not only impacted the natural but also artifical ways of conception especially the third party reproduction with ART bill making its own impact and dilemma rather in a time of crisis so making couples more confused as what to do so here comes role of right updated guidance
Have Priorities of life have changed ?
Seems like the life of almost everyone has been impacted and changed with corona as now health both phyiscal and mental health being priortized as everyone has now a big question of life in mind – ” What Next , Will I be affected and Whats more important in life ?’
Work From Home and Its Impact-
It has both plus minus points as we see in our patients.Its only way for many seeing safety concerns and when it’s a non emergency kind work which can be managed online so avoiding unnecessary exposure but in some patients we found them under more stress as they continuously on their system and mobile so impacting their mental health so should be taken care of as it affects the fertility indirectly
Concerns of corona risk and uncertainity of life has led to baby busting instead of boom as was expected, there is rather a drop or bust, same as was in 1950s so leading more of older population and less of younger to support it
Early in the pandemic, there were jokes about quarantines prompting a baby boom, but roughly nine months since COVID-19 , experts are reporting a baby bust.
Rather with lockdown more of frictions and strained relations among many with high divorce rate as now couples discuss out eveything and family planing is a matter of mutual responsibility and with trend of more nuclear families with both husband wife working and to add financial crisis is impacting their decision
There will be significantly fewer newborns in 2021 and will have lasting implications on the society as life has definitely turned upside down of many. Coronavirus pandemic has led to a decline in both planned and unplanned pregnancies.
Age is definitely not going to wait for anyone and already replacement rate(and total fertility rate) was low so now will drop further
Corona and its impact on fertility
The corona virus is on everyone’s mind right now and we talk of new normal with many questions in mind of both the patients and the doctors with many parallel scientific researches going on and with constantly changing information and updates, it’s difficult to have a clear understanding of who is most vulnerable, and how the virus impacts those who contract it, both short and long-term.
As someone dealing with the frustrations and heartache of infertility, you’re likely doubly concerned. Not only are you wondering what you can do to keep yourself and those you love out of harm’s way, but you’re very likely questioning how to proceed with your fertility treatment.
Is this a good time to plan pregnancy?
What impact corona virus will have on my current and future fertility ?
What impact it will have on my baby- short term and long term ?
What if I catch infection while pregnant or while on treatment?
New Definition Of Infertility-
Infertility is now considered a disease and treatment is not “elective.” The ASRM now advise those who are seeking treatment to be thoroughly advised of the risks, fertility clinics MULCTS take extreme prudent measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, and risk assessment must be performed prior to resuming treatment
What Needs To be done
Of course, if anyone tests positive for corona virus, the cycle should be cancelled
There were speculations in the start of pandemic that there will be baby boom as couples will get more time together to spend so can plan family but rather there is a drop in both planned and unplanned pregnancy and both natural and artificial modes of conception.Definitely world is going through a very tough situation which no one predicted and no one ever faced so it’s a big hit on the lives of many.Time will pass on and so the virus but we all need to be headstrong and vigilant enough also and continue taking precautionary measures as a responsible family member and as a responsible citizen too.
(The authors are senior IVF Consultant and Senior Gastroentrologist)