Rockville, MD – During a year of great uncertainty, one thing is certain for Shady Grove Fertility (SGF), the nation’s largest fertility center: hope isn’t cancelled. SGF took extraordinary precautionary measures throughout 2020 and expanded its fertility care offerings to include virtual consultations and visits to ensure patients would not have to face unnecessary postponements in pursuit of building their family amid a global pandemic.
“COVID-19 created confusion and caused unrest and uncertainty in many areas of our lives,” says Eric A. Widra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of SGF. “It made many of us take stock of our desires, goals, and what’s important to us like nothing before it had. And for many, that’s family. When people are stagnant in pursuit of a goal, or worse, if they feel like they are regressing and not progressing, it’s easy to lose hope. For our patients specifically, when they feel like they’re at a standstill, defeat and despair can eclipse their hope very easily.”
Most of us have never faced a global crisis like this in our lifetimes, and yet, from June through September 2020, SGF experienced a surge in several different infertility treatment types when compared to 2019 reports.
“In order to reach out and ask for help, especially during times of great uncertainty, you have to believe that someone on the other end of the rope will never let go,” continued Dr. Widra. “That’s why we’re here — to remind our patients, we offer hope, and we won’t let go.”
SGF recognizes surges in specific fertility treatments
SGF’s hallmark Shared Risk 100% Refund Program experienced a significant surge in enrollments of more than 10% year over year, and recently topping 25,000 enrollments to date. Program participants may attempt up to six fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) or donor egg cycles and any subsequent frozen embryo transfers (FETs) for a flat fee. Patients either take home a baby or a full refund, and 82% of participants take home a baby, alleviating the worry of cost versus chances of success.*
Among other treatment surges, SGF, home to one of the top five egg freezing programs in the U.S., saw a 52% increase in egg freezing retrievals during June through September 2020 compared with the same time last year. Growth of the program has also grown 17% year to date compared to 2019.
Tomer Singer, M.D., Medical Director of SGF New York, weighs in on the increase in egg freezing retrievals, “There are many reasons patients opt for egg freezing, including schooling, careers, travel, and very often, not having met the right partner yet. It’s challenging to date and develop a meaningful relationship through video calls and messaging, so women are regaining control of their fertility planning by freezing their eggs now for when the time is right, with the right person.”
For many patients who come to SGF, a low-tech option is the starting point, credited for its low cost and relative ease of use. In fact, 50% of treatments performed at SGF are low tech. “When patients realize that not all fertility treatment involves (in vitro fertilization) IVF, for some this is a game changer,” adds Widra.
For thousands of couples every year, intrauterine insemination (IUI) — often a suitable first step for patients with unexplained infertility, mild male factor infertility, a cervical factor, or irregular or absent ovulation—results in a successful pregnancy. “The increase in IUI treatments by nearly one-third in 2020 compared to 2019 proves that people are not discouraged; in fact, many are quite motivated to build their family,” adds Widra.
SGF patients turn to telehealth to make progress toward building their family
A survey of SGF patients who consulted with their physician via a telemedicine video appointment found that 96% would recommend the experience to a friend or family member.
“We’re fortunate that we were able to offer alternative, safe solutions during a time when much of our nation faced shutdowns,” shared Dr. Widra. “In life there are no guarantees — the exception being, at SGF we will leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety and success of our patients and team members.”
SGF’s telemedicine option offers patients access to their SGF physician while honoring social distancing recommendations, saving patients time, and avoiding travel. Through a secured online portal, patients and physicians share private access to:
- medical records,
- informed consent documents,
- patient instructions,
- educational videos, and much more.
From June through November 2020, SGF’s Out of State program more than doubled compared to 2019 as the practice increased its telemedicine capabilities, making it more convenient for patients from throughout the nation to seek care from an SGF provider.
“We know that the world we live in right now is uncertain and changing rapidly, but we’re here to offer patients a chance to regain some control and continue to make progress,” added Dr. Singer. “We’re here to help them be successful.”
To schedule a virtual new patient appointment with an SGF physician, call the SGF New Patient Center at 888-761-1967 or complete this brief online form.
About Shady Grove Fertility (SGF)
SGF is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence with more than 85,000 babies born and counting. With 38 locations throughout FL, GA, MD, NY, PA, VA, D.C., and Santiago, Chile, we offer patients virtual physician consults, individualized care, accept most insurance plans, and make treatment affordable through innovative financial options, including treatment guarantees. More physicians refer their patients to SGF than any other center. Call 1-888-761-1967 or visit ShadyGroveFertility.com.
*some exclusions apply