7 things you can do while delaying IVF due to COVID-19

While your IVF or FET cycle is on hold, take advantage of this extra time
Syringes laid below pills spelling out "COVID-19"
Syringes laid below pills spelling out "COVID-19"
Adjusting to the current situation has thrown a lot of people’s plans and finances into disarray which has, no doubt, affected many patients undergoing fertility treatment. Although most clinics are now back open, many patients have had to push their cycle start dates back in order to accommodate safety mandates, which halted treatment due to COVID-19 earlier this year. 

If your cycle has been pushed back even further by your own choice to delay during these uncertain times or by your clinic, try to take advantage of this time off from the coordination stress that is an IVF cycle and prepare yourself even better for your upcoming treatment and for pregnancy as well. 

It’s an excellent time to focus on self-care that can actually help lower your stress levels, improve your health and wellness, and get all your ducks in a row which might in the end help make your future transfer a success. 

Look after your health

Stay in shape

There is evidence that obesity can affect pregnancy rates and put you at higher risk of pregnancy complications, which is why some women are asked by their reproductive endocrinologist to lose weight before moving forward with an IVF cycle. 

As you're spending much more time at home lately, it’s easy to mindlessly eat more calories than usual on a daily basis or forget to move your body as often. That’s totally understandable and it’s important to allow yourself this time to relax but remember that besides being cleared for IVF, it’s important to stay as healthy as possible for your mental state as well! This could mean getting that run in, ordering delivery a little less during the week, cooking for yourself, finding a yoga video to follow online, etc. Whatever works for you!

Eat to support your fertility goals

There is emerging research in the fertility realm indicating that certain diets may improve fertility status. For those with PCOS, there is now research that has shown a low-carbohydrate diet may improve ovulatory function. The study showed a decrease in circulating testosterone levels and an improvement in insulin sensitivity for the women with PCOS in the study. This hormonal improvement was only seen in women that had PCOS while women that did not have PCOS showed no change in these hormone levels when reducing their carb intake. 

There has also been research to show that in general for ART patients, adhering to a mediterranean diet can help improve fertility. Specifically, increasing omega-3 fatty acids and lowering trans fatty acids may help improve ART outcomes and shorten the time to pregnancy.

Stress management

Spending most of your time indoors along with working from home or perhaps looking for a job can add additional stress on top of waiting for an upcoming cycle. It is more important than ever to take the time to find stress management tools that work for you. 

A few suggestions you can try are meditation, yoga, visualization practice, positive self-talk, journaling, or even spending time on a hobby you enjoy such as cooking, gardening, DIY projects, or even listening to a favorite podcast. Whatever small thing you can add into your day that helps you feel centered will go a long way for your mental health. 

Get studious

Call your insurance for prior authorization

If you have some extra time before your IVF cycle start date and already have your treatment calendar, why not be proactive and contact your insurance company to see if you can place a prior authorization request now!

Some insurance companies can authorize treatments in a short turnaround time while others can take weeks and could cause last-minute stress that could result in a delayed medication shipment or even prompt your clinic to request payment upfront while they await a confirmation of authorization from your insurance carrier. You might as well check to see if you can get the ball rolling!

Consider a medicated timed intercourse cycle while you and your partner are spending more time at home

If you have a male partner and you live together, make the most of this extra time at home by starting a much cheaper treatment! If your IVF cycle has been pushed out for a few months, ask your RE if you are a candidate for a medicated timed intercourse cycle. 

Not all patients will be a candidate for a TIC but if you have a diagnosis where you're cleared, you might as well try!

You can also DIY an unmedicated timed intercourse cycle by tracking your menstrual cycle and using an ovulation predictor kit to see what days you and your partner should try to conceive naturally.

See our tips on how to maximize your chances of success when ttc at home. 

Prepare your finances & double-check for any insurance coverage 

While you are waiting for your start date, it’s a great time to review your finances in preparation for IVF payment and contact your insurance provider to make sure you haven't missed any important details of your coverage that you can take advantage of.

Check out our article on 5 common insurance misconceptions patients have about their IVF coverage and our guide on the cost of IVF with insurance for tips on what to discuss with your insurance carrier and how to estimate what you will pay for treatment after insurance is applied. 

If you already have your medication protocol, it’s also a great time to window shop different pharmacies for the lowest medication prices for meds that will be purchased out-of-pocket.

You should also double-check on your pharmacy benefit's formulary which lists the medication brands covered by your insurance plan. You may find out that your doctor can substitute one of your non-covered medications for a different brand name that your insurance will pay for instead. 

Just ask your pharmacy benefit team for the formulary list and check if any of your medications are listed by a different brand name. If you see any, you can always ask your physician if it is something you can safely substitute. It’s worth putting a little research into!

Connect with others! 

Infertility struggles can already feel isolating enough and now we are all spending a lot of extra time at home away from friends and family. 

Make sure to reach out to a friend to catch up, spend time checking in with loved ones, and of course join our free community of fertility warriors to swap tips, learn more about the ins-and-outs of fertility, and get the support of women who understand. We’re here for you!

So tell us, did COVID-19 affect your treatment plans? Have you started back with treatment or are you still waiting?

Share with us what you did with your extra time to prepare better for treatment!

👋 Your story matters! Want to share your experience to help others choose a fertility provider? Head to our clinic search to find your fertility clinic and leave them an anonymous review.