Sperm Banks implement Zika-cautious policies

Some sperm banks and fertility societies are taking steps to keep the Zika virus out of their supplies of donor sperm to avoid infecting women trying to get pregnant.

The virus also can be transmitted sexually and through blood transfusions so some are concerned that sperm donated by men who have traveled to countries with outbreaks could pass the infection to women trying to become pregnant.

There are no commercial tests for Zika, so clinics can't screen blood or semen for Zika, the way they already do for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Only labs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a handful of states today are capable of diagnosing Zika.

But the British Fertility Society released recommendations Monday, stating that people who have traveled to areas with Zika outbreak should not try to conceive naturally, donate sperm or eggs or undergo fertility treatments for 28 days. The Zika virus is believed to stay in the blood for less than 28 days after a person is bitten.

The CDC has recommended that pregnant women postpone travel to places affected by Zika and to abstain from sex or use condoms if their "male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission."

Credit: USA Today

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