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Women Trying to Become Pregnant through Fertility Treatment

How should women trying to become pregnant through fertility treatment be counseled?

There have been no reported cases of Zika virus transmission through assisted reproductive technology (ART). However, healthcare providers should follow the FDA’s guidance for tissue donation[PDF - 10 pages] in consideration of the Zika virus outbreak, including protocols for sperm donation. 

Has Zika virus been transmitted through donated gametes (egg, ova) or embryos?

No instances of Zika virus transmission during fertility treatment have been documented, but transmission through donated gametes or embryos is theoretically possible. Zika virus has been detected in semen, and sexual transmission has occurred.

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance [PDF - 10 pages] providing recommendations to reduce the potential transmission risk of Zika virus through donated tissues, including donated sperm, oocytes, and embryos from anonymous donors.

How should couples with possible Zika virus exposure be counseled if they plan to use their own gametes or embryos to conceive?

Fertility treatment for sexually intimate couples using their own gametes and embryos should follow the testing and timing recommendations for couples attempting conception, although recommendations might need to be adjusted depending on individual circumstances.

Why are you not recommending testing for couples with possible exposure who are trying to become pregnant?

CDC is currently recommending Zika virus testing for anyone who has or recently experienced symptoms of Zika and lives in or recently traveled to an area with Zika; anyone who has or recently experienced symptoms of Zika and had unprotected sex with a partner who lived in or traveled to an area with Zika; and pregnant women who live in or recently traveled to an area with Zika, with or without Zika symptoms. CDC recommends that healthcare providers work closely with their state, local, and territorial health departments for assistance ordering laboratory tests and interpreting test results.  Routine testing is not currently recommended for women who are not pregnant and men who have possible exposure to Zika virus but no clinical illness. The performance of the test in people without symptoms is unknown, and results might be difficult to interpret. Zika virus testing for this purpose remains of uncertain value, because current understanding of the duration and pattern of shedding of Zika virus in the male and female genitourinary tract is limited. Information on the performance of serologic Zika virus testing remains limited, with falsely positive tests resulting in avoidable stress and expense and falsely negative tests providing false reassurance and possibly leading to inadvertent fetal exposure to Zika virus. CDC will continue to update guidance as new information becomes available.

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