The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. While it is common in Africa and Asia, it recently spread to the Western Hemisphere.
The concern comes for pregnant women who develop a temporary form of paralysis after exposure to the Zika virus. This temporary paralysis can result in babies being born with abnormally small heads, a neurological condition known as microcephaly. Below are guidelines from The IVF Center.
- Women who have Zika disease symptoms should wait at least 8 weeks after symptoms appear, and men should wait 6 months, before attempting reproduction.
- Men and women with possible exposure to, but not showing symptoms of, Zika should also wait 8 weeks.
- These same timelines should be used for sexually intimate couples using their own gametes in fertility treatments.
- For donated reproductive tissue, FDA guidance should be followed. Currently, FDA rules a potential donor ineligible for 6 months following being diagnosed with, or having had a high probability of exposure to, the virus.
- Testing for Zika virus is complicated, not universally available and routine serologic testing is not currently recommended.
- In areas of active Zika virus transmission, the use of contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancy is essential.
- Physicians should counsel and educate their patients on Zika and update their informed consent procedures to reflect that counseling.
Update 5/22/17: Click here to see the CDC’s travel recommendations for Zika in that country.