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undergo ivf during covid fertility specialist halza digital health

Dr Marion Valkenburg Life Expert Center fertility specialistWe speak to Dr. Marion Valkenburg, from the Life Expert Center, on the IVF experience. This is the third of three interviews we had with her to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on undergoing IVF.

Read our other interviews with Dr. Marion here:


Under normal circumstances, around how many IVF patients do you typically attend to monthly? How has that number changed since the start of the pandemic?

Since COVID, I do a lot of Zoom calls with patients from all over the world. Patients send me all their information, their age, their MRIs, etc.

The pandemic didn’t stop people from coming in. There is now a waiting list for our clinic, where previously there was never any. And it’s hard to replace people on the waiting list who can no longer make the appointment as they have to be on medication prior to coming in.

How has the pandemic affected IVF treatments for patients?

Unfortunately, now husbands cannot be present during functions and transfers anymore as we want as few people around as possible. We had to close for two and a half months during the lockdown and we hope we don’t have to close again.

On the other hand, everyone in the hospital is saying that it’s much better for women who give birth now as there are not many visitors.

It’s very calm, and breastfeeding goes better. There is a better relationship building between a mother, her child, and the father since they are the only ones who can visit. No brothers and sisters, no grandparents, everything is long distance. Nobody picks up the baby all the time, it always stays with the parents.

Maybe COVID babies will be more relaxed. Their mother doesn’t have to go to work, so she is home to breastfeed, for example.

How has your fertility clinic been affected? What changes has the team had to implement? How have these changes differed since the start of the pandemic till now?

In our clinic, we do fewer functions than usual since there cannot be too many patients in the clinic at the same time. We also have to dedicate time to cleaning the tables they’re being treated on.

Talking to patients with a mask on is much more tiring as it’s harder to express yourself. I work with the windows open, which is getting more difficult as winter is approaching. Although I have a waiting room outside, now I let my patients wait in the car, so they don’t have to mingle in the waiting room. I need more time as I have to clean my machine, my table, my toilets, my desk after every patient.

I have to be the policeman and the cleaning lady at the same time, telling people what they can and cannot do. I also have to administer the COVID tests myself.

What advice would you give to people who do want to undergo IVF but have hesitations due to the pandemic?

I have a more holistic view of how I see IVF. To me, it’s a technical help thing that makes a lot of people happy, but we should not forget that it’s much more than IVF.

There are always alternatives, and you should consider it alongside the anatomy of the woman, her general health, her psychological well-being, and the relationship with her husband, her environment, and her family.

Learn about the newest Halza features – IVF & Pregnancy – here.

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