Zika Virus: Should I Delay Fertility Treatment?

It’s been nearly impossible to open your browser without seeing accounts and warnings about the current outbreak of the Zika Virus. The CDC and WHO has issued travel warnings, calls to take extra care in warding off mosquitoes, and even urged women in outbreak  stricken areas to delay pregnancy until 2018. Reports of microcephaly and Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome in babies born to women who have contracted the virus concern expectant mothers and women seeking fertility treatments.  The outbreak is concentrated in Central and South America; however, many women living in Florida are wondering is it necessary to delay fertility treatments due to the outbreak of this virus?

Fertility experts are in agreeance that the emergence of this virus does not mean that women living in the United States should have to postpone their pregnancy or fertility treatments. While there is concern that Zika will spread into the States, the ability to sidestep contracting it is much easier.

What Is Zika and How Does It Spread?

Zika Virus is a virus spread by infected mosquitos. It causes joint pain, conjunctivitis, fever and rash. It usually stays in the blood for about a week. Women who are pregnant when they are infectected with Zika are also reporting an alarming number of cases of Microcephaly and Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome in their infants. It’s very important that you seek medical attention if you think you have contracted the Zika Virus.

Because this virus is spread by mosquitoes, the best thing you can do to prevent being infected, especially if you are pregnant, is to wear protective clothing and apply pregnancy-safe insect repellents. Both preventative measures are recommended by the CDC, as is advising pregnant women and women who wish to become pregnant to steer clear of any area where Zika is prevalent. Florida already takes great measures to ensure that mosquito populations do not become dangerous. Avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes can prevent West Nile, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and many other potentially fatal diseases. Because of all the prevention efforts taking place in our backyard, it’s unlikely that you will be bitten by a Zika-carrying mosquito. However, being aware of the disease, and taking necessary precautions are essential.

Zika And Fertility Treatment

The main concern for women who wish to become pregnant in the time of the Zika Virus are the lines being drawn between the virus in pregnant women and microcephaly and Guillain-Barre’ syndrome. Microcephaly is a rare condition in which a child is born with an abnormally small head. In Utero the head grows as the brain does. If a child is born with a small head, it may mean the brain did not have a chance to grow and may result in seizures, developmental and intellectual issues as the child grows. Microcephaly can occur without any other birth defects, yet the root cause of this condition remains unknown. However, it has been observed in babies where: infections such as rubella, toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus occurred, malnutrition, exposure to alcohol, certain drugs and toxic chemicals, and interruption of the blood supply. More increasingly cases of microcephaly and Zika Virus are running concurrently in Brazil.

Fertility doctors stateside however want mothers-to-be to know that the chances of you contracting the Zika Virus are very low, and may not be worth the worry if you are older and seeking motherhood. As women age, fertility decreases and the odds of having a complicated pregnancy increase. Delaying fertility treatments for two years in order to avoid becoming infected with Zika may cause fertility treatments to be unsuccessful, or increasingly, and unnecessarily, complicated.

Two years spent worrying about microcephaly could be spent weighing fertility options and becoming pregnant. Afterall, pregnant women are the most careful women out there. They are keep their unborn children safe from second-hand smoke, alcohol, chickenpox and a myriad of other extremely harmful diseases and circumstances. Keeping mosquitos away with long sleeves and pregnancy-safe insect repellent may be ample protection for women in Florida, an area where the virus has not yet spread.

While the outbreak of Zika Virus is extremely alarming, and you have every right to worry about its effects on pregnant women, know that Dr. Chamoun of Viera Fertility Center is here for you. He understands the risks of delaying fertility treatments and can help you decide when you’re ready to begin building the family of your dreams. If you have questions about fertility treatments, call Viera Fertility Center today!