Zika Virus: Precautions with Egg Donation & Surrogacy

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have deemed Zika virus a relevant and communicable disease.

From a CDC infographic, here are things you need to know about Zika:

  1. Zika can be spread from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy
  2. Infection during pregnancies is linked to birth defects in babies
  3. Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito
  4. Zika is not currently found in the continental U.S. The mosquitos that can carry Zika are found in some areas of the U.S.
  5. Because the mosquitos that spread Zika virus are found throughout the tropics, outbreaks will likely continue.
  6. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Zika is contracted from a mosquito bite, but we are unaware of the likelihood that a bite will result in the virus. Zika can be transmitted in a number of ways, such as sexual activity, blood transfusions, and reproductive tissues. The real issue is for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. In the latest release by the FDA on March 1, 2016, it’s stated that “There is potential risk that the Zika virus can be transmitted by [human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products] (HCT/Ps) used as part of a medical, surgical or reproductive procedure.” Examples of HCT/Ps are identified as products such as corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, gestational tissues such as amniotic membrane, and reproductive tissues such as semen and oocytes.

This brings us to the recent implementations necessary for egg donors and surrogates, as well as women going through IVF and other reproductive procedures.

Temporary restrictions for egg donation that will deem you and/or your partner ineligible for egg donation, as well as deem donor candidates ineligible:

  1. Diagnosis of Zika in the past 6 months
  2. Residence in, or travel to, an area with active Zika transmission within the past 6 months
  3. Sexual activity within the past 6 months with a partner who is known to have lived in or traveled to affected areas, or who has been diagnosed with Zika virus.

Affected areas made known by the CDC are as follows:

  • Cape Verde
  • Caribbean – currently includes Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadalupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, and U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Central America – currently includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
  • Mexico
  • Pacific Islands – currently includes American Samoa, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, and Tonga
  • South America – currently includes Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela
  • Additional advisory for 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It is strongly advised that women interested in becoming egg donors or gestational surrogates not travel to the affected areas. Doing so will disqualify you during this outbreak until you can be medically cleared. It is our focus to protect our egg donors, gestational surrogates and intended parents and provide up to date information. Fertility Source Companies is staying informed of updates by the CDC and FDA and we’ve updated our FDA intake forms for egg donors and instructions for all egg donors, gestational surrogates, and intended parents.

The FDA is still learning new information on Zika, and precautions are being taken to protect recipients using donated eggs.

Please give us a call at 877-375-8888 for more information regarding Zika virus and your eligibility.