March 30, 2020 I hope you are surviving the self-isolation imposed on all of us by Covid-19. Thankfully, the rainy weekend weather helped keep people indoors and my wife and I have been able to self-isolate together.
Presently, our office seems so quiet compared to what it used to be. All fertility treatments have ended as per the CFAS recommendations. Many of our staff are working from home, some are taking vacation time and some will be temporarily laid off soon. It has been an incredibly difficult time for all of us and I have never seen anything like this in my 37 years of practice. My hope and goal is that our staff and patients will all be back, working together again, sooner rather than later.
During the week, our doctors are still seeing our Obstetrical patients and doing virtual consultations. Actually, now is the time to get your fertility plans in order so we are ready to go at any given date in the future. Contact your doctor’s office for an appointment.
This coming week is an important one for Canadians. According to the Globe and Mail, over 1 million travellers have recently returned from distant places. Incubation periods for these travellers will be expiring over the coming week. It is a vital time to stay isolated so that those who are sick are not spreading the virus to other people.
I have updated some of the FAQ’s on this site.
Stay safe, Stay tuned,
Dr. Michael Virro
March 23, 2020 RE: MFC IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS (with some changes)
My previous update (below) talked about why MFC is suspending fertility testing/monitoring, egg retrievals and medical services following a recommendation from the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS). These are the same recommendations from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Yesterday, Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, has instituted shutdowns of ‘unessential’ services. While I recognize that ‘essential vs unessential’ has different meanings to different people, I would like to clearly share what services will and will not be offered during this unprecedented time.
- Markham Fertility Centre will remain open for essential medical services.
- A physician will be in the clinic Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 3:55 pm.
- Dr. Virro, Dr. Garcia, and Dr. Wais are working full-time schedules either seeing patients in the clinic or performing phone consults from home.
- Each doctor’s staff will answer the phones and appointments are still being scheduled.
- Whenever possible, these appointments will be done by phone or video-conference using a recommended medical portal with increased security features.
This is a time to do initial consults with new patients and to have follow up calls with existing patients who wish to revisit their fertility plan and have medical concerns addressed. It is a busy time; your appointment may not be immediate, but all doctors will schedule appointments on a full time work week.
Essential services include:
- Prenatal patients
- Ultrasound services for prenatal patients
- Any complication of pregnancy
- Any gynecologic urgent matter
Non-essential services (as determined by the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society) will be put on hold. These include:
- IVF cycles
- Fresh and frozen embryo transfers
- IUI cycles
- Semen analysis
- Cycle monitoring
- ERA biopsies
Immune patients that are presently in the middle of their treatment will be considered as an essential service.
If you are required to come to the clinic (essential services), please note that you will still be medically screened at the building entrance and once you enter the MFC clinic. The entrance to 379 Church Street has been closed; refer to FAQ’s for further information.
Currently, it isn’t possible to commit to previously scheduled start/retrieval dates. However, we can commit to developing comprehensive plans so we can ramp up operations and take to the ground running when we are given the green light. Those patients who were already booked for March fertility treatments will be given priority and other spots will be assigned.
We understand your disappointment and frustration by having your fertility procedures delayed or cancelled. Please be assured that the physicians and staff at MFC are doing everything we can in these difficult times.
Please keep checking this website for updates and potential opening times.
I appreciate your patience. Please stay healthy and follow the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health and our Prime Minister.
Dr. Michael Virro
Medical Director, Markham Fertility Centre
March 20, 2020 Here’s a personal message from Dr. Virro (Medical Director, Markham Fertility Centre)
Welcome to Markham Fertility Centre’s communication board. I will be posting updates regularly to help our patients feel connected to what is happening at Markham Fertility Centre (MFC).
A lot has changed in the past week. As you can see from previous posts, our doctors and staff have worked as an incredible team to develop safety measures to protect the health and safety of our patients and staff. Our goal was to employ all necessary precautions so we could stay open as long as possible for our patients. However, the situation changed when a guidance document was released by the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society that has far-reaching implications for all Canadian fertility patients.
I did a careful review of the recommendations, had in depth discussions with my fellow MFC physicians and several conversations with Medical Directors from other Canadian fertility clinics. The difficult decision was made; MFC will respect and follow the CFAS guidelines.
Therefore, effective immediately, MFC
- Will not perform any non-essential procedures
- Will not start new in-vitro fertility cycles (IVF), insemination cycles (IUI) or frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles
- Will not perform immune therapies and diagnostic testing
Once the clinic is reopened, patients who are currently booked for procedures will be prioritized and operations will ramp up quickly so we can accommodate as many patients as possible.
Dr. Virro, Dr. Garcia and Dr. Wais and their staff will:
- provide pre/post natal care and ultrasounds with onsite visits and/or phone consultation as prescribed by your physician. Note: Patients who visit our offices will be asked to follow rigorous screening procedures as outlined in the March 18 post below
- provide phone consultations to review our patients’ current fertility plans and how Covid-19 affects them personally. MFC employs recommended virtual platforms with increased security to protect your privacy.
- provide medications for pregnancy support as required
- accept new patients and perform phone consultations
If you are a patient of Dr. Pyselman, Dr. Roth, Dr. Roumain or Dr. Dzineku, you will receive instructions from their clinics directly.
What you can do during this time:
- Monitor this message board for MFC-related information. The CFAS guidelines are subject to change every 2 weeks. Our current safety plan means we can hit the road running when the green light is on.
- Contact your MFC physician’s office directly if you would like to book a virtual appointment. All doctors are fully committed to doing phone consultations and we have increased staffing to answer these questions and book appointments.
- If you need additional emotional support, contact our counselling service at www.fresh-insight.ca to book a virtual appointment.
- If you would like to learn more about nutrition and what men and women can do to support their fertility while you wait, obtain nutritional counselling at www.fresh-insight.ca
- Dr. Garcia’s social media provides support, inspiration and up-to-date information – blog at http://www.drmeivysgarcia.com and http://www.instragram.com/dr.meivys.garcia
- Stay healthy – watch the news for health updates and advisories, employ proper hand-washing techniques and practice rigorous social distancing.
We understand that this news will be upsetting and frustrating and realize that you have been preparing and planning for this next step in your fertility journey. Know you are not alone in this journey – MFC is committed to helping you through this difficult time and continuing your treatment as soon as possible.
Stay safe – we are all doing our part to protect and help each other.
Signing off for now,
Dr. Michael Virro
Medical Director, Markham Fertility Centre
March 18, 2020 Markham Fertility Centre (MFC) remains open to our patients and is accepting new referrals. Markham Fertility Centre remains commited to its patients and staff. We have been a government-inspected and accredited health facility for over 15 years. As such, our clinic has a culture of adhering to strict guidelines and quality standards that supports the safety of patients and staff. This includes comprehensive and rigorous safety standards, standard operating procedures and staff training and competency programs. If you are already an MFC patient who has started or is about to start your fertility treatments, your Coordinator and Doctor will provide you with additional information about how Covid-19 may affect your personal fertility plan. Most fertility plans will remain unchanged at this time. In response to governmental guidelines and recommendations, MFC has instituted additional precautions including: The main entrance to our building at 379 Church Street has been closed. You will need to enter the main entrance of 377 Church Street. This is the brown building with green panels in front of our building. This new entrance is directly across from the main parking lot. Screeners will be present at this entrance on weekdays from 7am -5pm. Once you have been screened, please follow the signs to the 379 Church Street elevators and proceed to the 5th floor. A ‘Covid-19 Management Team’ has been established to ensure that MFC develops comprehensive and effective safety practices in accordance with governmental recommendations. If you have an appointment booked, you will be prescreened prior to your appointment date. All people entering MFC’s premises must proceed through MFC’s screening station on the 5th floor. Those who meet the safety standards will be granted access to the facility. Physicians will provide virtual consultations (by phone or electronic means) if an office visit is not required, if your health and risk history precludes an office visit, or if you are not comfortable with coming to MFC’s offices. Only you and your partner will be admitted (as per screening protocols). You must have an appointment to be seen. MFC will be ‘cashless’ during this time; you will be asked to pay via authorized online portals. Patients without appointments, children, unauthorized visitors and/or delivery personnel will not be admitted. Rigorous disinfection and cleaning procedures are being performed by trained staff members. Our practices exceed the established guidelines in both scope and frequency. You will be assigned to a specific waiting area where social distancing measures have been employed hhile you wait for your appointment (including cycle monitoring). If you have general questions about Covid-19, these resources are helpful: www.toronto.ca/coronavirus www.ontario.ca/coronavirus Telehealth Ontario: To speak to a nurse, 24-7 call 1-866-797-0000 Multilingual Advice from Toronto Public Health Hotline: 416-338-7600 weekdays 8:30 am – 8:00 pm, weekends 10 am – 6 pm Afterhours Public Health emergency help line (multilingual): 416-392-2489 or 311 Follow Dr. Meivys Garcia, MD on her Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/dr.meivys.garcia/