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March 15: How We’ve Changed our Clinic to Address COVID-19

By Dr. Tom Hannam MD FRCSC REI

Safety has always been part of our values, but to emphasize it in our physical spaces, our clinic at 160 Bloor Street is more sterile now.

We took away the magazines, the candies, the puzzle pieces, art area, throw pillows and more.

We practice social distancing now, with no more than two people (you and your caregiver) in a room whenever possible. If there needs to be third it will be a supportive clinician rather than, say, a supportive partner. We can’t have kids onsite, or other supportive family and friends. Of course, this is terrible—fertility treatments are hard enough without removing supports, but we need to keep the number of people onsite to a minimum. I know you understand.

Cycle monitoring hours are now extended throughout the morning, not just first thing, to keep the number of people onsite at any one moment low.

We can certainly promise that this will be one of the safest experiences you can have anywhere during your day. It will certainly be cleaner than where you shop, safer than when you casually interact with a neigbour or friend despite best efforts not get too close.

That’s not just because we have Purell and sinks everywhere, which of course we do. And not just because our staff are all well versed in Universal Basic Precautions.

It is because we do not allow unwell people on our floor. This rule may negatively impact you if you have a cold (or even just allergies; it can be almost impossible for us to tell the difference with current technologies available, so we cannot allow you on the floor either way). You might be temporarily excluded from care. I hope not, but you might.

Our reasoning is simple: we have pregnant patients to care for, and along with out staff and other patients, we just don’t want to be responsible for getting anyone sick.

The truth is we are all vulnerable. Not so much from our clinic, but from the world around us.

That is why we want you to freeze your eggs and embryos with us while you are healthy, and we want to provide a safe space to do so.

If you can, if you have the resources and the time, please help us help you. Email me at tom.hannam@hannamfertility.com, and look for more on egg and embryo freezing in my next post.


 

About the Author

Dr. Tom Hannam
The founder of the Hannam Fertility Centre, Dr. Hannam has sat on the board of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada, and the European Society for Human Reproduction and Endocrinology.

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