Do you have travel plans and you are worried about the impact Zika virus may have before or during a surrogacy or egg donation journey?
Whether you are considering becoming a surrogate mother or you are looking for a gestational surrogate, there are different things that you need to pay attention to before beginning your process. One of them is the Zika virus.
Why Zika Virus?
- Zika virus can be easily spread from mother to fetus during pregnancy – The virus can lead to birth defects.
- There is no vaccine or medication for the virus. You can only prevent it.
- Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito. These mosquitoes can bite you any time of the day or night. The other way that the virus spreads is through sex, blood transfusion- although, there are not enough studies to confirm this, and also from mother to the fetus.
How Does the Virus Affect the Surrogacy Process?
There are some precautions about the Zika virus for surrogate mothers and intended parents thinking about surrogacy.
If you have the virus or you have a possible exposure to Zika, you cannot be a surrogate, donate eggs or sperm for fertilization unless you have been cleared.
According to the CDC, due to the possible presence of the virus in semen or in other body fluids, the suggested time frames for waiting to get pregnant after possible exposure are:
- Women returning from areas where transmission of Zika virus is known to occur are advised to wait at least 2 months after the last possible exposure or when the symptoms start manifesting.
- Men returning from areas where transmission of Zika virus is known to occur should wait at least 6 months after the last possible exposure or when the symptoms start manifesting.
So, if you are in the screening process of a surrogacy journey, a trip to an area affected (either you or your husband/partner) could cause up to six-month delay in the time you can do an embryo transfer.
How to Protect Yourself
First and most important, if you are considering starting a surrogacy journey, try to avoid any travel to areas with Zika. However, if you must travel, you need to consult the physician before your trip.
There are different countries that have been reported to have a high rate of the virus. Some of these countries are Mexico, Barbados, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Peru, Venezuela, just to mention a few.
If you live in or travel to areas that have been infested with the virus, you need to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you are safe.
- You can use the mosquito repellent
- Wear the protective clothes always
- Take the necessary steps to protect your home from these mosquitos. You need to use the screens on your doors and windows. It is also important for you to repair any holes that may be present, to keep the mosquitoes out.
- Always sleep under a mosquito bed net, especially if you are pregnant.
- You also need to protect yourself against the transmission of the virus through sex. If your partner has traveled to any of the virus prone areas, you need to take the necessary precautions.
Decisions about surrogacy planning are complex, and the circumstances for surrogates and intended parents will vary. Surrogates and intended parents should speak to their doctor or healthcare provider before making any international or domestic travel plans on areas with Zika risk.
You can get more information on Zika virus visiting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Also, the CDC gives up-to-date information on areas with Zika risk. Check here for the most up-to-date information before travelling