Human Reproduction – LETTER TO THE EDITOR
COVID-19: the perspective of Italian embryologists managing the IVF laboratory in pandemic emergency
Lucia De Santis, Attilio Anastasi, Danilo Cimadomo, Francesca Gioia Klinger, Emanuele Licata, Valerio Pisaturo, Laura Sosa Fernandez, and Catello Scarica
Sir, . The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health emergency, . which confronts us with a radical change in the management of our . work routine and daily life. The epidemic in Italy started on January 30 . and, following the spread of cases throughout the whole country, the . Government declared the lockdown for several activities and a series . of tight restrictions on March 13 to prevent the further worsening of . the situation. As we write, in Italy we have not yet reached the peak of . the contagion curve and more than 110,500 cases and 13,000 deaths . have been registered. . In the field of reproductive medicine, this led to recommendations . from the major scientific societies to suspend in vitro fertilization . (IVF) treatments. The present situation has been well summarized . by La Marca et al. (2020) with ‘COVID-19: Lessons from the Italian . Reproductive Medical Experience’ (https://www.fertstertdialog.com/ . users/16110-fertility-and-sterility/posts/62274-covid-19-inklings). . We want to endorse their comprehensive and honest description. . It is remarkable the authors’ aim of accurately describing the measures . adopted by Italian IVF clinics to face this unprecedented situation to . educate and provide guidance for those countries that must cope . with it in the weeks ahead. Even though this emergency demands the . precaution of postponing new treatments, each IVF center is also a . tissue center; therefore, actions must be taken to preserve fertility in . oncologic patients, but above all to ensure the proper maintenance of . cryogenic banks. . On behalf of the Italian Society of Embryology, Reproduction . and Research, we consider helpful to report the recommendations . (prot.02/Italian Society of Embryology, Reproduction and Research, . 2020) we issued for Italian IVF laboratory operators to deal with this . pandemic, which comply with the notes enacted by our Government . (Decreto del Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri, 2020), the National . Health Institute, Italian National Transplant Centre (2020a, 2020b) and . Italian ART Registry and the international scientific societies (European . Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, 2020; American . Society of Reproductive Medicine, 2020): .
- Use proper personal protective equipment (eye protectors, face . masks, gloves, shoe covers and disposable laboratory coats). .
- Based on sta ng levels, whenever possible, facilities should . arrange at least two teams that should alternate to limit the virus . spread in the event of an operator being infected (e.g. Group A: . Gynecologist A, Nurse A, Anesthesiologist A, Embryologist A and . Witness A; Group B: Gynecologist B, Nurse B, Anesthesiologist . B, Embryologist B and Witness B). In the event that anyone in .