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What You Need to Know about the Zika Virus and Sperm Donation
Despite that the Zika virus may no longer dominate the news cycle as it did last summer, the condition remains a very serious concern in the United States as well as in those countries where outbreaks remain present.
Those who are trying to conceive, including those using a sperm donor to build a family, still need to take extra care. The decision to use a sperm donor to have a baby comes with its own emotional process, and the last thing you’d expect to have to consider is a virus best known for impacting South American countries, not the U.S.
Why the Zika virus still matters
The Zika virus remains a real concern, so the CDC is advising fertility patients about areas to avoid while traveling outside of the country and areas within the United States that may have a heightened risk. For example, in Florida, sperm that was donated in three different counties may be infected with the virus, even though some of those areas were previously declared free from Zika. The situation is inherently difficult to navigate as a person can have the Zika virus and be entirely unaware. In fact, 80% of Zika sufferers exhibit zero symptoms, and those who do can regard their case as a simple cold – they might not even need to visit a doctor before they feel better.
The Zika virus and donor sperm
Those at the greatest risk are pregnant women who can transmit the virus to their unborn fetus, typically resulting in miscarriage or serious neurological defects. This is why sperm banks across the country, specifically those in areas where Zika is suspected, are on edge. At the Fertility Center of California, in partnership with the Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists, we have long taken the necessary precautions needed to protect patients from the virus. Since February 2016, we have offered Zika virus testing to fertility patients and potential sperm donors free of charge.
Our experience has proven that the unique combination of male fertility specialist training in conjunction with a state-of-the-art cryobank leads to optimal results in terms of the acquisition, processing and storage of sperm retrieval specimens.
For those interested in learning more about sperm donor testing, we invite you to review our list of potential reasons why a sperm donor could be rejected from our donation program. This list includes an explanation of how recent travel records are taken into account while accessing potential sperm donors.