Please refer to our social media channels (Instagram and Facebook) for the most up to date information related to COVID-19 and how it is affecting fertility treatment.

UPDATE AS AT 24.09.2020 – ALL PATIENTS | 4:00 pm

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL PATIENTS

The Queensland Government has provided the below Public Health Direction for all of Queensland.

Effective 24 September 2020 – Travelers from previous hotspots

Anyone may enter Queensland from a place that is no longer a declared COVID-19 hotspot. You can enter Queensland even if you have been in a previously declared COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days. The Australian Capital Territory is planned to no longer be a hotspot from 1 am 25 September.

Effective from 1:00 am, 1 October 2020 – Border zone

Because of the reduced risk of COVID-19 transmission in northern New South Wales, the following changes have been made regarding the border zone:

  • The New South Wales border zone (PDF) will be extended
  • The Queensland border zone will no longer exist
  • Queensland residents will be able to travel anywhere in the New South Wales border zone for any purpose
  • New South Wales border zone residents will be able to travel anywhere in Queensland for any purpose.

For further information please visit the Queensland Government website

We thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times and encourage you to get in touch with us should you have any questions or would like any further information. Please contact our friendly staff on 1800 111 373

We will continue to monitor all new updates and keep you informed.

UPDATE AS AT 26.08.2020 – ALL PATIENTS | 9:00 AM
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL PATIENTS
We want to reassure you that all of our patients can commence or continue treatment at First Step Fertility.
What safety measures do we have in place to meet current COVID-19 requirements?

The safety and well-being of our patients and staff continues to be our main priority and we have and continue to take appropriate measures to address this. First Step Fertility’s protocols in place to mitigate unnecessary risk include (and are not limited to):

  • All patients and essential support persons are required to wear masks on entering the clinic or hospital;
  • All staff, patients and visitors are screened and have temperature monitoring prior to entering clinics;
  • All staff, patients and visitors to the clinics are required to use hand sanitiser on entering the clinic, and staff – before and after contact with patients;
  • All staff in public and patient-facing areas are required to wear masks;
  • The implementation of social distancing measures wherever possible, except when carrying out essential medical procedures;
  • Ensuring staff maintain high-infection control protocols including the thorough daily cleaning of all high-touch areas with high-grade disinfectant, including reception surfaces, door handles, and treatment areas.

Please be aware that there may be restrictions imposed on partners or support persons attending procedures in our clinics. This is to comply with the COVID-19 safe workplace requirements. We encourage to contact your clinic for further guidance.

First Step Fertility is advising anyone who falls into the following categories, to delay their treatment at First Step Fertility for 14 days, if:

  • you have any active flu-like symptoms;
  • you have had direct contact with proven COVID-19 case or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
  • if you are self-isolating or being tested for COVID-19.

If you think at any time that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please phone your clinic who will help you make the necessary changes to your treatment.

Queensland border restrictions guidelines

In response to the current border restrictions announced by the Queensland Government on the 20th of August, First Step Fertility is providing the following advice:

Patients living in the “border zone” can commence or continue treatment at our Gold Coast clinic.

All persons who are given an exemption to come in from VIC ACT and NSW are subject to quarantine restrictions on entry to Queensland for 14 days. Please note this does not apply to people living in the “border zone” and does not prevent urgent care being delivered during these 14 days.

The exemption that allows our patients and visitors entry into QLD only allows entry. It does NOT exempt them from quarantine. 

The exemptions that allow the residents of “the border zone” in northern NSW does not extend to travel to Brisbane. These residents are subject to quarantine if they travel outside the border zone in Southern QLD. Brisbane is outside this border zone.

Alternatively, First Step Fertility can offer you treatment in the state that you reside in one of our local clinics in QLD and NSW.

We thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times and encourage you to get in touch with us should you have any questions or would like any further information. Please contact our friendly staff on 1800 111 373.

We will continue to monitor all new updates and keep you informed.

UPDATE AS AT 28.07.2020 | 9:00 am
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR NSW PATIENTS 

We want to reassure you that all of our NSW patients can commence or continue treatment at First Step Fertility.

NSW Health has announced all health workers caring/working within 1.5m of any patient are required to wear masks.

First Step Fertility is advising anyone who falls into the following categories, to delay their treatment at First Step Fertility for 14 days, if:

  • you have any active flu-like symptoms;
  • you have had direct contact with proven COVID-19 case or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
  • if you are self-isolating or being tested for COVID-19.

If you think at any time that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please phone your clinic who will help you make the necessary changes to your treatment.

What safety measures do we have in place?

The safety and well-being of our patients and staff continues to be our main priority and we have and continue to take appropriate measures to address this. First Step Fertility’s protocols in place to mitigate unnecessary risk include (and are not limited to):

  • All patients and essential support persons are required to wear masks on entering the clinic;
  • All staff, patients and visitors are screened and have temperature monitoring prior to entering clinics;
  • All staff, patients and visitors to the clinics are required to use hand sanitiser on entering the clinic, and staff – before and after contact with patients;
  • All staff in public and patient-facing areas are required to wear masks;
  • The implementation of social distancing measures wherever possible, except when carrying out essential medical procedures;
  • Ensuring staff maintain high-infection control protocols including the thorough daily cleaning of all high-touch areas with high-grade disinfectant, including reception surfaces, door handles, and treatment areas.

We thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times and encourage you to get in touch with us should you have any questions or would like any further information. Please contact our friendly staff on 1800 111 373.

We will continue to monitor all new updates and keep you informed.


UPDATE AS AT 21.04.2020 | 2:00 pm
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL PATIENTS (Federal Government announcement)

Scott Morrison has announced that the Federal Government will be easing restrictions on some elective surgery effective Tuesday 28 April, including IVF services. First Step Fertility will be recommencing all IVF services in line with this directive.

We understand that this has been a challenging time for all you and we want to thank you for your ongoing support. Please be reassured that social distancing and safety measures continue to be in place to ensure the safety of our patients and staff at all times.

Please call 1800 111 373 to discuss your options and to get started on your journey towards parenthood today!

 


UPDATE AS AT 02.04.2020 | 9:00 am

COVID-19 update

During these difficult and unprecedented times, we are here to support each and every First Step Fertility patient in any way we can. Your wellbeing is very important to us. We encourage you to give us a call to discuss your options or any other questions you may have at this time.

Please rest assured that for those who may have embryos, eggs or sperm in storage, our experienced and expert scientists will continue to ensure they remain safe. We will be ready and waiting for you to continue your fertility journey, as soon as we can in the coming months.

First Step Fertility will continue to consult with patients via phone and video conference. You can contact us on 1800 111 373 for further information on the limited services available.

What can we help with over the phone?

Whether you are a new or one of our existing patients there are a number of matters we can assist you with over the phone including (and not limited to):

  • New patient consultations: discussing your current medical situation; taking medical and fertility history; discussing potential treatment options etc.
  • Counselling sessions: First Step Fertility affiliated counsellors are able to offer remote supportive, couples or donor-recipient counselling services.  A variety of appointment days and times are available including after-hours (subject to individual counsellor availability).
  • Medication education: advice; education; online demonstrations; and coaching.
  • Nurse guidance: Pre-treatment advice; individualised advice and education of treatment prescribed by the fertility specialist; advice and support via phone call, text message and email.
  • Reviews: Existing patient cycle review with a fertility specialist or embryologist

 


UPDATE AS AT 26.03.2020 | 11:00 am
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL PATIENTS (Federal Government update for all patients)

In these unprecedented times, we want to ensure you are provided with the most up to date information.

For any patients currently undergoing treatment, The Health Minister, Greg Hunt and the Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy have indicated that patients who, as of 25 March 2020, 1:00 pm, have started an IVF cycle will be allowed to complete their treatment, this includes fresh and frozen cycles. Please contact your treating fertility specialist or clinic for further advice.

We are continuing to liaison with Federal and State Governments and we will continue to provide any important updates as they are made available.

We will continue to provide phone and online (skype etc) consultations. Contact us on 1800 111 373 for information on the limited services available.


Patient-related Q&A

To help alleviate your concerns around the COVID-19 virus and how this might affect your fertility treatment, we have compiled a list of the frequently asked questions to keep you informed.

Treatment

Are pregnant women at increased risk of developing severe disease/complications from COVID-19?

According to the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG, 29 March 2020).  At this time, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell if they develop COVID-19 infection than the general population, however pregnant women should be considered a vulnerable or at-risk group. It is expected that the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. However, detailed information regarding the impact of COVID-19 infection on pregnant women and their babies is limited by the recency of the disease emergence.

To view the RANZCOG guidelines for pregnant women, please visit www.ranzcog.edu.au/statements-guidelines/covid-19-statement for more detailed information and or speak with your treating clinician about your personal circumstances.

Guidance from the Fertility Society of Australia can also be found here: www.fertilitysociety.com.au/home/fsa-statement-covid-19/

Can we start treatment?

All fertility treatment can recommence as of 28 April 2020.

What happens if I want to cancel my cycle and wait?

It is okay if you wish to cancel your cycle and prefer to wait. We can work with you and your specialist to manage your future treatments.

I am in cycle - Can I still have a transfer (Frozen Embryo Transfer or Fresh Embryo Transfer)?

Yes, you are able to continue your cycle and proceed with the transfer.

Please discuss with a First Step Fertility specialist or a fertility nurse coordinator your treatment options.

What if I get sick mid-cycle? Can I freeze my embryos and transfer them later (instead of having a fresh cycle)?

If you get sick mid-cycle and it is suspected that it is due to COVID-19, firstly, you will need to notify your treating clinician and GP. To ensure your health and the health of staff, we may need to cancel your cycle until after you have been in self-isolation and/or after you have been tested.

We would ask that you seek medical advice regarding your personal circumstances and consult with your treating specialist so we can manage your care accordingly.

Are my embryos at risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Your embryos are cultured and incubated in our laboratory under strict conditions. Additionally, your embryos are cultured in your own individual dish. Our laboratories have specialised air filters and are restricted to only laboratory staff. All staff at First Step Fertility are screened daily.

Are my embryos (fresh or frozen)safe being in an incubator with other embryos if the virus is in droplets in the air?

As mentioned above, your embryos are incubated in their own individual dish in a special media.  If embryos are frozen during this time, as per usual procedure, all surfaces and equipment are wiped down between patients before the next freezing event.

Your embryos are safely stored in individual straws in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees

What if I am overseas when my day-one starts?

Given all people returning from overseas to Australia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, your treatment cycle will need to be delayed until a later date as we cannot manage your cycle without having any direct contact with you.

Essential travel for medical appointments into Queensland

What happens if the border between two states (e.g. QLD and NSW) closes and I need to do cross-border travel to start my treatment?

If you reside in NSW and are concerned how this could impact your fertility treatment, First Step Fertility is pleased to advise, the Queensland Government have confirmed that cross-border travel for medical treatment purposes at our Robina Clinic is allowed.

In an effort to help minimise the travel required for you, First Step Fertility can now:

  • Provide phone and or video consultations where practical;
  • Courier medications to you if required;
  • Provide medication training via video conferencing; and
  • Arrange for your scans to occur locally, where possible.

As a result of the above changes, you will now only be required to attend the Robina clinic for your procedure. For this, we will provide you with a letter from your fertility specialist to state you are travelling for medical purposes. We request that you please contact our Patient Services Team on 1300 859 116 to obtain a copy of this letter before attending your appointment

First Step Fertility is continuing to monitor the Department of Health alerts and provide any important updates to patients as soon as they are available. For additional information on COVID-19 please visit www.health.gov.au

For more information on essential travel for medical appointments into Queensland, click here.

Safety

How do we know staff are not inffected?

As is the case for all health services, First Step Fertility is implementing a range of safety precautions to minimise this risk, these include:

  • Stay away from work policy: We are advising anyone who falls into the following categories, to not attend work and seek medical advice:
    • Active flu-like symptoms
    • Recent direct contact with proven COVID-19 case in the past 14 days
    • Recently returned from overseas travel within the past 14 days (since 15 March these people must self-isolate for 14 days.)
  • Daily staff health screening: To help us protect everyone in our clinics, day procedure centres and call centres, we are implementing a daily health check screen for all staff, patients and visitors. We are asking staff to record their temperature and status of their travel or whether they have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Patient health check on arrival: We will also be asking patients some health check questions and taking patient temperatures with an infrared temperature device.
  • High Infection control protocols: We are undertaking thorough daily cleaning of all high-touch areas with high-grade disinfectant, including reception surfaces, door handles, and treatment areas.
  • Hand sanitisation: All staff, patients and visitors to our clinics are required to use hand sanitiser upon entering the clinic. All staff are required to use it before and following contact with patients.
  • Social distancing in our clinics: We have implemented social distancing measures in our waiting rooms and staff working areas.

Hospital

Has the temporary ban placed on elective surgery, including IVF treatment, been lifted?

Scott Morrison announced on 21st April 2020, that the Federal Government will be easing restrictions on some elective surgery effective Tuesday 28 April, including IVF services. First Step Fertility will be recommencing all fertility services in line with this directive.

What happens if the day hospital closes?

In the event of the hospital associated with your clinic closes, our sister clinic has its own off-site procedure centres/day hospital in the following locations:

  • In Queensland, two procedure centres (Sunnybank and Gold Coast) where we can provide ongoing care and services for egg pickups.
  • In New South Wales, our Gateway Day Hospital in the CBD can provide ongoing services for egg pickups.

Costs

What are the costs if I must cancel a cycle?

If you must withdraw from fertility treatment because of an actual or suspected COVID-19 exposure before the egg collection or transfer, First Step Fertility will not charge you any out-of-pocket fees. If you have collected medication, please store this as per directed and this can be used for a future cycle when it is safe for you to proceed with treatment.

Telehealth: phone and online consultations

What can you provide me with, via your telehealth services?

Whether you are a new or continuing patient there are a number of matters we can assist you with over the phone or online including (and not limited to):

  • New patient consultations: discussing current medical situations, taking medical history and fertility history, discussing potential treatment options etc.
  • Counselling sessions: First Step Fertility affiliated counsellors are able to offer remote supportive counselling services.  A variety of appointment days and times are available including after hours (subject to individual counsellor availability)
  • Counselling sessions: facilitate counselling to address any concerns relating to treatment
  • Medication education: advice, education, demonstrations and coaching
  • Nurse guidance: Pre-treatment advice, individualised advice and education of treatment prescribed by the fertility specialist, advice and support during the treatment and post-treatment phase including phone call, text message and email
  • Existing patient cycle review with an embryologist
What type of remote education can I access from First Step Fertility?

Our sister clinic, City Fertility, has a comprehensive education e-book full of important information fertility treatment including a number of remote learning support videos which we can share with you to watch from your home.  These videos include information on understanding the menstrual cycle, the fertility window, the IVF process including starting treatment, giving injections and egg retrieval, embryology and embryo transfer. You can ask our friendly staff to send you the link to these resources for your perusal.

Alternatively, you can also check under the Resources section on our website, or visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.

For more information or to get started on your journey today
Call Today! 1800 111 373
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