Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Health
Assisted Human Reproduction
I propose to take Questions Nos. 766 and 775 together.
Private fertility clinics operating in Ireland suspended the provision of assisted human reproduction (AHR) treatment during the current Covid-19 emergency on foot of guidance issued by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in mid-March.
However, on April 23 2020, ESHRE issued a new statement recommending that “once the risk of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 infection is decreasing, all ART (assisted reproductive technology) treatments can be restarted for any clinical indication, in line with local regulations”, as well as a comprehensive document, the “ESHRE Guidance on recommencing ART treatments”, which contain a set of detailed recommendations for clinics planning to restart AHR treatment.
My officials inform me that, following the revised ESHRE guidance, the majority of fertility clinics at least have either resumed activities or have indicated that they intend to do so in the near future.
Nevertheless, as emphasised on the websites of the clinics, any decision regarding the resumption of treatment and services will be taken in a measured way in order to ensure the protection of patients and staff, and compliance with the “ESHRE Guidance on recommencing ART treatments”. It is also obviously incumbent on clinics to comply with the measures outlined in the Government’s “Return to Work Safely Protocol”, which apply to all workplaces in this country.