You hear it over and over again, “Select a donor that has not traveled through a zika area or has lived in a zika area.” Most egg donor agencies include the question on FDA approved health questionnaire, “Have you traveled to a zika area in the past six months?”
So, what does this mean, and what is the risk with zika? What does the ASRM guideline say about receiving an egg donation from a donor who has traveled through or lives in a zika region?
First and foremost, it is important to take a good look at the current map that is consistently kept up to date by the CDC. CDC data changes often and quickly. Knowing what regions are considered high risk and which aren’t is important. Here are a few things to consider when considering a donor who has traveled through a zika region:
1. The U.S.and South America Have The Same Risk
Currently, the U.S.A. and South America both fall under the zika risk color code as purple. Yes, America is deemed the same risk level as countries in South American and South Africa. Clinics will require you as an intended parent to sign a waiver stating you understand the risks of cycling with a donor from South America; it’s called a “Zika Waiver.”
However, if you choose an American donor, no waiver is asked for. Why? We aren’t really sure. Is it bias? The amount of zika cases in both of our continents is so similar that was lies in the same color fill on the map. The question does arise, asking why is more push back for foreign donors, and not U.S. donors?
2. The Latest Data in Egg Donation and Zika
According to the CDC, the last live case of zika in the United States was in 2017. For some time, even donors from Florida were considered high risk. That has since changed drastically. Purple areas on the map are areas with previous cases and outbreaks but no current outbreaks of zika.
As of 2019, there has never been a case of zika from an egg donation through a donor.
3. Understanding Zika
Zika is not something to ignore, and it should be taken seriously. So should the data that accompanies a donor you are considering from a zika region. So what is zika, and what kind of women does it affect?
Zika is a disease that is transmitted through infected mosquitos, which affect the fetus growing inside pregnant women. This effects general health as well as skull deformities.
This is mostly a risk for women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant from a sperm source who has also been in a zika region.
4. Egg Donation Tests for Zika
If you are selecting a donor to make an egg donation to you from a zika region, know that your physician will test her for zika to see if she even been infected with zika. This can offer you great peace of mind going forward with your chosen donor.
Otherwise, there are wait periods. Some doctors suggest donors come to the U.S. to wait out their “zika quarantine,” just to be sure. This is often difficult as donors have jobs, families, and lives to attend to and can’t come to the United States for three months with nothing to do before they are allowed to donate.
Most top tier physicians will all an egg donation from a donor from South America with some testing and the “Zika Waiver.”
The End of Zika
The CDC does believe the zika threat is coming to a slow but sure end. The amount of cases occurring in the Americas now is incredibly low. This is a positive thing and opens many doors for intended parents who want to receive an egg donation from a donor who lives in or has traveled through a zika region.
It is always important to consider every aspect or risk in cycling with a donor and take your physician’s counsel.