Zika Virus: Protecting the health of TSBC recipients and their children is our top priority.

Posted: March 2016

Zika Virus: Protecting the health of TSBC recipients and their children is our top priority. 

  • Zika Virus Screening for TSBC donors
  • For Pregnant People and Individuals Trying to Conceive
  • Resources

Zika Virus Screening for TSBC donors

Over the past few months, The Sperm Bank of California has been watching the growing international concern about the Zika virus, a mosquito transmitted infection.  Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant person to their fetus and has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of individulas who had Zika virus while pregnant.  Particularly concerning to TSBC is news regarding sexual transmission of the Zika virus.  Following public health principles, TSBC immediately implemented a protocol to reduce the risk to our recipients and their children. 

In March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a guidance document to reduce the risk of Zika transmission from cells and tissues including sperm.  The protocol developed by TSBC’s medical team and reviewed by members of our Medical Advisory Board is in full compliance with the FDA guidelines.  Donors are screened for travel to (or sexual partners who have traveled to) affected areas in order to defer their donations for 6 months after possible exposure.  Additionally, a full review of reported travel history has been conducted for all donors who provided samples since 1/1/15, including contacting donors for additional information when needed.  Samples collected within 6 months following a potential exposure to the Zika virus have been pulled from our inventory. 

TSBC will continue to monitor this situation and will continue to review and adjust our protocols as more information is available.

For Pregnant People and Individuals Trying to Conceive

(Excerpted from CDC website on 3/17/16)

Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant person to their fetus and has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. The primary way that individuals who are pregnant get Zika virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito.   Zika virus also can be spread by a man to his sex partners. 

Currently, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following special precautions for pregnant people and individuals trying to conceive.

1. Avoid travel to an area with Zika

  • Consider delaying travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading.
  • If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first.

2. Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Remove or stay away from mosquito breeding sites, like containers with standing water.

3. Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex

  • If you have a male sex partner who has lived in or traveled to an area with Zika virus  either use condoms the right way, every time, for vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
  • If you are concerned that your male partner may have or had Zika virus infection, talk to your healthcare provider.

4. See a healthcare provider

  • If you have traveled to an area with Zika, talk to a healthcare provider about your travel even if you don’t feel sick.
  • It is especially important to see a doctor if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during their trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to an area where Zika has been reported.  Tell the doctor where you traveled.

Resources

Information about Zika virus is subject to change as the outbreak progresses and research is conducted.  The CDC and FDA will have the most update information and recommendations.