The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated their recommendations for men trying to conceive with possible Zika virus exposure. Previously men were advised to wait 6 months after possible Zika virus exposure to try to conceive. The CDC released updated guidelines on August 7, 2018, dropping that waiting period to 3 months. During that 3 month waiting period, men should avoid conceiving a pregnancy and should use condoms with intercourse to avoid sexual transmission of the virus.
The 3 month waiting period is advised even if the male has no symptoms of Zika virus infection and even if he had negative Zika virus testing. There are still limitations to Zika virus testing, so a negative test is not a guarantee that the man did not contract the virus.
For men, who are not trying to conceive a pregnancy, the recommendation is that he still use condoms for 3 months after last exposure to avoid sexual transmission of the virus.
For women who are trying to conceive and have had a possible Zika virus exposure, the CDC still recommends waiting at least 8 weeks after exposure to try to conceive.
Possible exposure to Zika virus includes people in the following situations:
- Travel to or residence in an area of active Zika virus transmission.
- Sex (vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or fellatio) without a condom with a man who traveled to or resided in an area of active transmission.
The doctors at Reproductive Partners urge all couples who are actively trying to conceive to abide by these guidelines and be alert for additional recommendations from the CDC. If you are a woman whose partner needs to travel to a Zika endemic area, you may want to speak with your physician about freezing sperm prior to his travel.