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14.07.2016. Zika Virus and Infertility

The 2016 temporary guidelines and recommendations regarding Zika virus exposure, suggested by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, can be found at We have compiled the key information for you here.

Infection with Zika virus can be suspected in persons who live or have traveled to the areas of virus occurrence over the period of two weeks prior to first symptoms. According to the Ministry of Health, these are mostly countries of Latin America. Infection may be suspected if two or more of the following symptoms occur: high fever, rash, conjunctivitis (eye-redness) or arthralgia (joint pain).

A man who lives or has visited an area where mosquitoes carry Zika virus and whose partner is pregnant should use a condom or practice abstinence from sexual relations throughout the entire pregnancy.

Pregnant women who have visited affected areas should get tested for Zika virus even in the absence of symptoms.

Both men and women who are showing symptoms of or have been diagnosed with Zika virus after possible exposure to the virus are recommended the following:

  • Women should not plan for pregnancy at least 8 weeks from the occurrence of symptoms;
  • Men should not engage in unprotected sex at least 6 months after the occurrence of the symptoms (the interval had been recommended based on certain findings on Zika virus presence in the ejaculate and it had been calculated by multiplying the longest confirmed presence of Zika virus in the male semen of an infected man by 3);
  • Men and women with no signs of Zika infection, but who may have been exposed to Zika virus either by traveling to the affected areas or by engaging in unprotected sex with an infected person are recommended to postpone pregnancy planning for at least 8 weeks after the possible exposure to Zika virus;
  • Couples with men living in an affected area without developing the symptoms of infection are recommended to use condoms or practice abstinence from sexual relations as long as there is active presence of Zika virus in the area.

So far, there is no evidence of Zika virus transfer in medically assisted reproduction procedures, but in theory transfer of the virus is possible through donated gametes or embryos. Zika virus is not destroyed during cryopreservation. Therefore, Food and Drug Administration does not recommend semen or egg donation for persons with the following risk factors involved: being diagnosed with Zika virus in the past 6 months, having permanent residence or traveling to Zika virus affected areas during the period of 6 months back, engaging in sexual relations with a man who had been infected with Zika virus 6 months prior to engaging in such relations or had traveled to areas with active presence of Zika virus.