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Measures to prevent the risks associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the field of medically-assisted procreation

The French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) has been asked by the French General Directorate for Health to issue an opinion on the recommendations that were set up by the French Agency of Biomedicine (ABM) in the field of medically-assisted procreation (MPA) during the epidemic of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Indeed, given the initial uncertainties about the modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the emerging nature of Covid-19 and the lack of data on its long-term evolution, the safety of prevention measures initially recommended by the ABM for persons wishing to undergo MPA as well as for gamete, embryo and germline tissue donations, has to be re-evaluated according to the evolution of scientific knowledge but also the progression of the population’s vaccination coverage against this virus. The HCSP was also asked to issue an opinion, in partnership with the Haute Autorité de Santé, on the vaccination of persons concerned by AMP.

In view of the data in the literature on the potential risks of contamination of gametes by SARS-CoV-2, on the outcomes of pregnancies of women infected by this virus and on the risks for foetus and new-born, and the data available on anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination during pregnancy, the HCSP recommends:

  • to complete a SARS-CoV-2 risk questionnaire at each stage of the MPA process, even for patients who have received a full vaccination schedule;
  • not to carry out any screening test for SARS-CoV-2 prior to sperm donation, provided that the donor is asymptomatic at the time of donation and is not a recent case-contact (less than 15 days) of an infected subject, as is the case for egg donations
  • not to carry out systematic PCR test before fertility preservation, provided that the patient is asymptomatic and not a recent case-contact;
  • to continue with the barrier measures (mask, hand hygiene, etc.), physical distancing and good laboratory practices set up by the ABM during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • to strongly encourage people requesting MPA to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and to respect a delay of one week between the injection of the second dose and the initiation of MPA, as well as gamete donors;
  • to develop clinical research projects on the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on human fertility and MPA practices.

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