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COVID-19 and assisted reproductive technology services: repercussions for patients and proposal for individualized clinical management

Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 18:45 (2020) – 2020-05-13

Carlo Alviggi1*, Sandro C. Esteves2,3,4*, Raoul Orvieto5,6, Alessandro Conforti1, Antonio La Marca7, Robert Fischer8, Claus Y. Andersen9, Klaus Bühler10,11, Sesh K. Sunkara12, Nikolaos P. Polyzos13, Ida Strina1, Luigi Carbone1, Fabiola C. Bento2, Daniela Galliano14, Hakan Yarali15, Lan N. Vuong16,17, Michael Grynberg18, Panagiotis Drakopoulos19,20, Pedro Xavier21, Joaquin Llacer22, Fernando Neuspiller23, Marcos Horton24, Matheus Roque25, Evangelos Papanikolaou26,27, Manish Banker28, Michael H. Dahan29, Shu Foong30,31, Herman Tournaye19, Christophe Blockeel 19, Alberto Vaiarelli32, Peter Humaidan4,33, Filippo M. Ubaldi32 and on behalf of the POSEIDON (Patient-Oriented Strategies Encompassing IndividualizeD Oocyte Number) group

Published: 13 May 2020

Author information


The prolonged lockdown of health services providing high-complexity fertility treatments –as currently recommended by many reproductive medicine entities– is detrimental for society as a whole, and infertility patients in particular. Globally, approximately 0.3% of all infants born every year are conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments. By contrast, the total number of COVID-19 deaths reported so far represents approximately 1.0% of the total deaths expected to occur worldwide over the first three months of the current year. It seems, therefore, that the number of infants expected to be conceived and born –but who will not be so due to the lockdown of infertility services– might be as significant as the total number of deaths attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. We herein propose remedies that include a prognostic-stratification of more vulnerable infertility cases in order to plan a progressive restart of worldwide fertility treatments. At a time when preventing complications and limiting burdens for national health systems represent relevant issues, our viewpoint might help competent authorities and health care providers to identify patients who should be prioritized for the continuation of fertility care in a safe environment.


COVID-19, Assisted reproductive technology, Infertility, In vitro fertilization, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Poseidon criteria, Viewpoint