Universal SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction screening and assisted reproductive technology in a coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic epicenter: screening and cycle outcomes from a New York City fertility center

Controlled ovarian stimulation can be performed in the midst of a pandemic using universal screening, with low coronavirus disease 2019-positive rates in patients undergoing assisted reproductive technology.

VOLUME 116, ISSUE 4, P980-987


Jacquelyn Shaw, M.D., Jessica Tozour, M.D., Ph.D., Jennifer K. Blakemore, M.D. M.Sc., James Grifo, M.D., Ph.D.



To evaluate the prevalence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and efficacy of a universal screening program in patients undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation (COS).


Single-center retrospective cohort study.


Academic fertility center in an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.


All patients undergoing COS from June 17, 2019, to February 28, 2021.


Universal COVID-19 screening starting June 17, 2020, with SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction testing within 5 days of oocyte retrieval, patient-reported symptom screening, and temperature monitoring.

Main Outcomes Measure(s)

The primary outcome was the number of positive COVID-19 cases in patients undergoing COS cycles. The secondary outcomes were cycle outcomes compared with before COVID-19 COS cycles, adverse outcomes in COVID-canceled cycles, and center-specific COVID-19 detection rates compared with New York City cases.


From June 17, 2020, to February 28, 2021, 1,696 COS cycles were initiated with only seven positive COVID-19 cases for an overall positivity rate of 0.4%. When compared with before COVID cycles from June 17, 2019, to February 28, 2020, the volume of COS cycles were higher, while the overall cycle cancelation rate was lower during COVID-19. Cycle outcomes including oocyte yield and blast utilization rates were unchanged from pre-COVID cycles. Cases of COVID-19, while very low, occurred more frequently during surges in New York City rates.


Assisted reproductive technology can be performed during the COVID-19 pandemic utilizing frequent universal screening and safe practices with low SARS-CoV-2 positivity, low cycle cancelation rates, and positive patient outcomes.

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