“The Ethics of Fertility Treatments During Corona” – with Dr. Alan Copperman

Dr. Alan Copperman, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Mount Sinai, discusses the ethical questions that surround fertility treatment during the coronavirus. A decision was initially made to suspend fertility treatments during the coronavirus, but healthcare professionals have argued that this area represents essential and time-sensitive procedures. Dr. Copperman discusses his experience during the crisis concerning fertility treatments.

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Dr. Alan Copperman, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Mount Sinai, explains the ethical questions that have surrounded fertility treatments during the coronavirus pandemic.  

When nonessential and elective procedures were initially suspended, this included fertility treatments. Some of these treatments include hormone therapies, surgical procedures, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). These treatments have become increasingly common in modern practice, and require a high volume of staff as well as a lot of physical space and extensive technology and equipment.  

Shutting down operations was surprising to Dr. Copperman and his colleagues, but they quickly pivoted to help emergency and critical care units. Fellows began working with labor and delivery, and PPE and other equipment was moved to critical care. Teams made other changes as well, like switching to virtual lectures and research meetings.  

While the intention of shutting down fertility treatment was to lessen the burden on the healthcare community, it brought up ethical discussions regarding whether these procedures are classified as elective or nonessential. Dr. Copperman argues that often, infertility treatment is time-sensitive, so restrictions have been and should be modified. Changes in daily operations, like practicing social distancing in waiting rooms, increasing disinfecting practices in facilities, choosing telemedicine when possible, and surveying and checking temperatures of patients and staff will be implemented to help maintain safety. In addition, Dr. Copperman notes that more widely available coronavirus testing will allow doctors and patients to resume fertility treatments more freely.  

Dr. Alan Copperman is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Mount Sinai in New York City. Dr. Copperman is the author of over 100 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on reproductive medicine. He has completed research on and written about subjects including IVF, infertility, egg freezing, ovum donation, and reproductive genetics and is frequently quoted in the media as an expert on these topics. Dr. Copperman completed undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and earned his medical degree from New York Medical College. From there, he completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital and advanced training at Mount Sinai, where he practices today. Dr. Copperman is board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility as well as obstetrics and gynecology.