The scientific community’s understanding of Zika transmission and the impact on pregnancy are constantly evolving. This is our latest Zika virus update.
What we know about Zika virus:
• Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
• Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.
• Many people who are infected with Zika have no symptoms, or their symptoms are mild. When symptoms are present, they include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain and red eyes.
• Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes, but the virus can also be transmitted sexually. This is possible even if the infected person does not have any symptoms.
• There is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat it.
• Testing for Zika is not universally available and is not always covered by insurance. Routine testing is not currently recommended for women who are not pregnant. Testing is also not recommended for men who may have been exposed to Zika virus unless they have clinical symptoms of infection (fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain and red eyes). This is because accuracy of the test in people without symptoms is unknown, and results might be difficult to interpret. False positive tests result in avoidable stress and expense, and false negative tests provide incorrect reassurance, possibly leading to inadvertent fetal exposure to Zika virus.
Zika and Infertility Treatment
There have been no reported cases of Zika virus transmission through assisted reproductive technology (ART), but Zika virus has been detected in semen, and sexual transmission has occurred. Therefore, it may be possible to transmit the virus through the use of donated eggs, sperm or embryos. With this in mind, RHS is following FDA guidelines for both anonymous and directed egg donation
These guidelines state that donors will be considered ineligible if they have any of the following risk factors:
1. Medical diagnosis of Zika infection in the past 6 months
2. Residence in, or travel to, an area with active Zika transmission within the past 6 months
3. Sex within the past 6 months with a male who is known to have either of the risk factors listed in items 1 or 2
Any couple planning to conceive through fertility treatment should follow these guidelines:
• Before planning any travel, check the CDC’s travel website for areas with Zika risk.
• Please consider avoiding nonessential travel to areas with a CDC Zika travel notice. If you must travel, talk to your doctor before your trip.
• If you do travel to a CDC Zika travel notice area, it is important that you take steps to prevent mosquito bites
• If a woman visits a Zika travel notice area, she should wait at least 8 weeks before attempting pregnancy. During this waiting period, the couple should use condoms or should abstain from intercourse.
• If a man visits a Zika travel notice area, he should wait at least 6 months before attempting pregnancy. During this waiting period, the couple should use condoms or should abstain from intercourse.
• If either has had an active Zika infection, wait 6 months after its onset to attempt conception. During this waiting period, use condoms or should abstain from intercourse.
The CDC will continually update guidance as new information becomes available. RHS physicians remain educated about new developments and will relay this information to patients as it becomes available.
CDC Fertility Treatment
CDC Attempting to get pregnant
FDA: Donor Screening Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Transmission of Zika Virus by Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products https://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/Tissue/UCM488582.pdf
ASRM Guidance for Providers