Zika virus update

HFEA guidelines recommend that 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 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidance outlines that men should not donate sperm for 6 months after sexual contact with a man who has been diagnosed with a Zika virus infection in the 6 months preceding the sexual contact, or after sexual contact with a woman who has been diagnosed with a Zika virus infection in the 8 weeks preceding the sexual contact. 

Sperm donors who are known to have been infected with Zika virus should be deferred from donation for 6 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.

 

Collection instructions for Zika virus RNA by PCR in semen 

  • 2 fresh semen samples required produced within one week. Sperm quality/fertility is not being assessed so collection times do not require abstinence. There is a charge for each sample.
  • Small fresh volume (1ml) of semen needed in standard universal container.
  • Please notify the laboratory (020 7307 7373) that semen is being sent to the laboratory for Zika Virus by PCR.
  • Results will be reported individually as Detected/Not Detected.
  • Patients can be asymptomatic/symptomatic. Travel history is not required.
  • Please do not send samples to the laboratory on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
  • Do not freeze semen.