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IVF treatments put on hold amid coronavirus concerns

A devastating side effect of the coronavirus outbreak is playing out for those trying to conceive.

Governor Jay Inslee issued an order Thursday to halt all elective surgeries and dental services in Washington.

The order applies to all non-urgent procedures to try to free room in local hospitals. That includes those waiting to start a family using in-vitro fertilization treatments. 

On Tuesday, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released new guidance on fertility care amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Some of the recommendations include: suspension of initiation of new treatment cycles, in vitro fertilization (IVF) including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers. 

"It's still been a really long 48 hours, and a lot of really tough phone calls,” said Dr. Lora Shahine with Pacific Northwest Fertility. 

Dr. Shahine had to let some of her patients know that their IVF treatments would have to be put on hold. 

“This is really devastating news for a lot of patients and people in the fertility community,” said Shahine. 

The ASRM recommended that some fertility treatments be suspended in order to keep people safely at home and preserve medical supplies for urgent needs. 

RELATED: Gov. Inslee halts elective surgeries, dental procedures to free up supplies to fight coronavirus

ASRM is clear that anyone in the middle of an IVF treatment can finish it, but any new cycles will have to wait. 

“To build up all of that preparation, and all of that emotion, and be ready to take that leap, and then have it taken away from you is devastating,” said Shahine.

It's an unexpected move for fertility centers that, for the most part, don't operate in hospitals and don't necessarily take up emergency hospital beds. 

The ASRM says it plans to revisit its guidelines no later than March 20. 

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