With fertility treatments suspended, so is hope for many couples

Medical Watch
Data pix.

CHICAGO — For countless couples trying to conceive in the time of COVID-19, there can be emotional and significant setbacks when treatments, and for so many, hope, are suspended.

For two years, Mike and Michelle Goldstein have been trying to grow their family. Last June, they began fertility treatments to boost their chances.

“I have two children from a prior marriage, and this was not something I had to go through previously,” Mike Goldstein said. “And I try to be as supportive as I can because I can’t imagine what she is going through.”

There have been multiple procedures and two miscarriages along the way.

“Every time we go through a cycle I think, ‘Ok this is it. This is the time it’s going to happen,’” Mike Goldstein.

A few weeks ago, Michelle’s doctors decided to change up her medications before moving on to a more aggressive treatment – invitro fertilization. Then the virus hit harder.

Dr Kara Goldman is a fertility specialist at Northwestern Medicine. She spoke to WGN News after a full day of wrapping up procedures, work she plans to continue through the weekend to meet newly issued recommendations.


“The clinic we had two weeks ago is entirely different,” she said. “The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has recommended that we suspend all new fertility treatments including IVF, IUI and any embryo transfers by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. All fertility treatments should be suspended.”

The guidelines, which do not include cancer patients preserving eggs prior to radiation or chemotherapy, are in part designed to divert critical supplies to intensive care units and emergency rooms – items like gloves, gowns and masks.

“When I heard that news it was literally six months of a stand still at least,” Michelle Goldstein said. “And at my age, that is like an eternity.”

As time slows, so do the Goldsteins chances for the two children they dream of. They were hoping to undergo invitro fertilization in the coming weeks and bank additional eggs for later use.

“It has been incredibly tough,” Goldman said. “For women who are on the higher end of the reproductive spectrum, where they may not have months or years to wait to conceive, it’s very challenging to know they have to delay.”

“Going through fertility is so stressful as it is,” Michelle Goldstein said. “And this piece, no one could have ever predicted. And it’s quite a bump in the road and definitely affecting people.”

“To know that we are in this with many other people, it’s nice to know that,” Mike Goldstein said. “We know we are not alone and for anyone who is watching tonight same thing, you guys are not alone.”

Another consideration is that doctors don’t yet know the effect of COVID-19 on pregnant women or unborn babies, particularly during the first and second trimester, further complicating the decision process and how to cautiously proceed.

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