Over the last week our two main priorities as a Clinic have been and continue to be firstly, to ensure all those currently in treatment are able to complete their current cycle and secondly to counsel and support all those patients due to start to treatment. Our patient support programmes are busier than ever and we ask you to please make use of these so we can help support you through this time of uncertainty and fear and hopefully start you on your treatment programme as soon as we reasonably can.
In line with the guidance published on 19th March by the British Fertility Society (BFS) and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS), and supported by our regulatory body the HFEA, we believe the time has come for the Agora Clinic to formally postpone all new treatment cycle starts.
The exceptions to this will be for those patients due to start urgent cancer treatment that may threaten their future fertility. We will be offering egg, sperm or embryo freezing to these patients, provided they are self-isolating and not immunocompromised.
Since 15th March, we have been advising all our patients to postpone starting new treatment cycles, for all the reasons listed below. Our reasons to move now to suspending all new treatment cycle starts is to support the recent significant measures taken by the British Government to promote social distancing, including closing schools and places of social gathering. In addition to supporting social distancing, we believe suspending treatment cycles at this stage will lessen the impact treatment cycles might have on an already stretched NHS if complications arose.
Over 8000 private clinics have now been enlisted by NHS England to help treat patients affected by the virus. Whilst we do not fall in this category, as we do not have any in-patient hospital facilities to offer, we do have skilled staff and the ability to deliver some key out-patient services. The Agora team will do everything it can to support the NHS and the Nation during this time of unprecedented crisis.
Our leadership team including myself will remain on duty at all times at the Agora to support our patients and the services still offered at the clinic. Some of our other staff trained in healthcare will step forward into the NHS to support the massive effort required to, not only treat patients affected by COVID-19, but also to continue to deliver urgent medical care, operations and cancer treatments.