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HFEA Zika virus guidance - current status as of August 2018

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has developed guidance on how to prevent Zika virus transmission through substances of human origin.

In accordance with this guidance, travellers returning from high or moderate risk areas should consider the following guidance to minimise the risk of Zika virus transmission:

  • A female traveller, symptomatic or asymptomatic, should not try to conceive naturally, donate gametes or proceed with fertility treatment for 28 days
  • A male traveller, symptomatic or asymptomatic, should not try to conceive naturally, donate gametes or proceed with fertility treatment for 6 months

The ECDC guidance outlines that men should not donate sperm for six months after sexual contact with a man who has been diagnosed with a Zika virus infection in the six months preceding the sexual contact, or after sexual contact with a woman who has been diagnosed with a Zika virus infection in the eight weeks preceding the sexual contact

Sperm donors who are known to have been infected with Zika virus should be deferred from donation for six months unless semen samples test negative for Zika virus RNA by nucleic acid testing (NAT).

If sperm donation cannot be postponed, donors can be accepted if both serology (taken at least 4 weeks after leaving the Zika-affected country) and semen NAT tests for Zika are negative.

If patients have concerns about fertility issues, they should talk to their clinic or GP before travelling to a high or moderate risk area.

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Publication date: 13 September 2018

Review date: 13 September 2020