IRMS Update – The Zika Virus: A Threat to Women of Childbearing Years

Zika virus

While the number of Zika outbreaks has dropped significantly since 2016, it is still an issue individuals must be cautious of, particularly pregnant women and those who are considering becoming pregnant. Zika is extremely dangerous for infected mothers-to-be and could seriously jeopardize the health of a pregnancy. Complications from the virus could result in miscarriage. Infants may suffer impediments with fetal brain development like microcephaly and there has been an increase in individuals reporting symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Therefore, travel to infected areas such as Mexico and Central and South America is discouraged for pregnant women and their intimate partners.

Zika is a virus that occurs in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The virus is transmitted from mosquitos and can also be spread sexually through an infected partner. The majority of individuals infected with Zika report having no signs or symptoms, however, potential symptoms may consist of a mild fever, headache, rash, red eyes and joint or muscle pain.

Currently, researchers have yet to discover a recommended treatment or vaccine for Zika. It is heavily advised to apply bug spray in an effort to avoid infection from mosquito bites. Additionally, to dump any standing water that may have accumulated from rain that could serve as a breeding ground for insects.

Additionally, for those undergoing fertility treatment with a third party the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that living donors of sperm, oocytes, and embryos will be deemed ineligible for anonymous donation if they have any of the following risk factors:

  • medical diagnosis of Zika virus infection in the past 6 months
  • residence in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission within the past 6 months
  • within the past 6 months had sex with a male partner who, during the 6 months before this sexual contact, received a diagnosis of or experienced an illness consistent with Zika virus disease, or has traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission

We advise all of our current and future patients to maintain knowledge of the subject of Zika and Zika outbreaks particularly if you or your partner travel to know Zika-infected areas for either work or pleasure. Please use this link for the most up-to-date CDC Advisories: https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

If you have any general questions regarding your fertility journey or about the Zika virus and donor eligibility, please contact us at 973.322.8286 or fill out our contact form.

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