Zika Virus Update - Dr John Peek

7 November 2018

Zika Virus Update -  Dr John Peek

Fertility Update: Zika virus recommendations - John Peek

Infection with the Zika virus seems to be associated with some babies being born with microcephaly (small head) and incomplete brain development.  Nearly all infections come from being bitten by mosquitoes in affected areas, but transmission by semen is possible. 

Reliable testing for Zika virus is still being developed, and it is still unknown how long the virus may be active after infection.  Health authorities around the world have issued recommendations based on avoiding areas with Zika virus, and deferring trying to become pregnant if you or your partner have recently been to an area with Zika virus.  Fertility Associates advice has been updated based on recommendations by by American Society of Reproductive Medicine 

Fertility Associates recommends:

Women who are pregnant - avoid Zika-affected areas, take good precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes if you do travel to Zika-affected areas, and do not have unprotected intercourse for the duration of pregnancy if your partner has been in a Zika-infected area.

Men and women intending pregnancy - avoid Zika-affected areas, take good precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes if you do travel to Zika-affected areas, and defer becoming pregnant for at least 3 months after you or your partner returns from a Zika-affected area.

Men or women who have been infected with Zika virus – have Zika testing and wait at least 3 months from a positive test before trying to become pregnant.  The cost of each test is about $180 and is not publicly funded.

Men and women with possible exposure to Zika virus and no clinical illness – it is wise to wait at least 3 months before trying to become pregnant.  If wanting to become pregnant sooner, consider testing blood or urine for Zika viral RNA with a single test 4 weeks after possible exposure, or with two tests - the first within 2 weeks of possible exposure and the second after 8 weeks.  The cost of each test is about $180 and is not publicly funded.

Men and women who live in areas with active Zika transmission – seek advice and take good precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.

  • Sperm donors, egg donors and surrogates 
    • defer donation for 3 months if you have been infected with Zika virus,
    • defer donation for 3 months after returning from a Zika-affected area,
    • defer donation for 3 months if your partner has traveled to a Zika-infected area

If you do have concerns please talk to your medical team at your next appointment or contact your nurse at Fertility Associates.

The NZ Ministry of Health website has practical tips on reducing the risk of Zika and other insect borne infection, and has links showing where Zika occurs. 

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides this page that shows which areas have risk of Zika infection https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika