The Fertility Center of Las Vegas

What you need to know about Zika and fertility

You probably remember when stories about Zika virus overwhelmed the news. Although we don’t hear as much about the virus now, our Las Vegas fertility center team still has concerns about Zika and fertility. The virus is still very much a risk to unborn babies, so it’s important to know how to protect your family.

What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause serious problems during pregnancy. People have caught the virus in tropical and sub-tropical regions, including Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southern Asia, the Pacific Islands and certain counties of Southern Texas and Southern Florida.

Both men and women can carry and transmit the virus through any type of sexual contact, blood transfusions and during pregnancy. The most common symptoms of Zika in adults are a fever and a rash, which are often mild. This can make it difficult for someone to know they have the virus.

Although the symptoms are often mild or nonexistent in adults, Zika can cause serious problems in unborn babies. As a result, it’s so important to understand the link between Zika and fertility. The virus can cause the following problems in babies when the child’s mother contracts Zika during her pregnancy. The virus can also be transmitted to the baby through an egg donor who was exposed to it before the egg retrieval, or a gestational carrier who was exposed during pregnancy.

  • Microcephaly (a smaller than normal head).
  • Serious developmental disabilities
  • Impaired growth
  • Eye defects
  • Hearing loss
  • Miscarriage

Zika and fertility – Guidelines for intended parents

When it comes to Zika and fertility, our Las Vegas fertility center recommends that intended parents adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Heterosexual couple. Both partners must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 3 months before semen collection and/or egg retrieval and throughout the pregnancy (if carrying the pregnancy).
  • Same-sex female couple. Both partners must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 8 weeks before egg retrieval and/or embryo transfer and throughout the pregnancy.
  • Same-sex male couple. Both partners must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 6 months before semen collection. NOTE: We can collect and freeze sperm before travel.

Zika and fertility – Guidelines for donors and surrogates

Our Las Vegas fertility center team also has recommendations for sperm and egg donors as well as gestational carriers (surrogates).

  • Sperm donor. The sperm donor and his sexual partner must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 6 months before semen collection. NOTE: We can collect and freeze sperm before travel.
  • Egg donor. The donor must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 6 months before egg retrieval. If the donor has a sexually intimate male partner, the male partner must also avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 3 months before egg retrieval. If the donor has a sexually intimate female partner, the female partner must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 8 weeks before egg retrieval.
  • Gestational carrier (surrogate). The surrogate must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 8 weeks before embryo transfer. If the surrogate has a sexually intimate male partner, the male partner must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 3 months before the embryo transfer and throughout the entire pregnancy. If the surrogate has a sexually intimate female partner, the female partner must avoid travel to Zika-affected areas for 8 weeks before embryo transfer and throughout the pregnancy.

Keeping up with the latest information about Zika

Information regarding Zika and fertility is always changing, so the team at our Las Vegas fertility center advises you to consult the following websites for the most current information.

You can also contact us to learn more about how to protect you and your family from Zika during pregnancy.