International knowledge and understanding of the Zika virus is still evolving and regular updates are provided on the websites at the end of this document.
The virus is transmitted predominantly by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted sexually and probably through blood and organ donation. It may remain in semen for up to six months, although recent evidence suggests that this is a rare occurrence. In the majority of cases, Zika virus levels are undetectable after 3 months.
The following guidelines aim to reduce risk of Zika virus infection and are subject to continuous review and ongoing updates:
There is no guarantee that this policy can eliminate all potential risk.
Avoid travel to areas or countries where there is active local transmission.
Consider postponing travel to areas/countries not recently affected but affected previously, particularly if you have an immune disorder or chronic illness
If travel is absolutely necessary or if you have already travelled to an area where the Zika virus is active:
Use precautions against mosquito bites (repellent, long sleeves and trousers etc, sleep in air-conditioned rooms or under mosquito nets).
If in Zika affected areas:
Use barrier methods to prevent sexual transmission. Barrier methods include male or female condoms for penetrative sex, including sex toys, and male or female condoms or dental dams for oral-genital sex or oral-anal sexual contact. They must be used consistently and correctly for the entire duration of sexual contact.
Females, on return to Ireland from Zika affected areas:
You should continue to use barrier protection for any sexual activities and cannot proceed with fertility treatment for 8 weeks.
If your male partner has been in the affected area, you should continue to use barrier protection for any sexual activities for 3 months and you cannot proceed with fertility treatment that uses his sperm for 3 months (TSI, IUI, IVF, ICSI).
Males, on return to Ireland from Zika affected areas:
You should continue to use barrier protection for any sexual activities for 3 months and cannot proceed with fertility treatment that uses his sperm for 3 months (TSI, IUI, IVF, ICSI).
Sexual contact with a person who has been to an affected area:
If a female has had sexual contact with a person who has been to an affected area in the last 3 months, she should not try to conceive naturally or proceed with fertility treatment for 8 weeks after her last sexual contact with him
If a male has had sexual contact with a person who has been to an affected area in the last 3 months, he should not try to conceive naturally or proceed with fertility treatment for 3 months after that sexual contact.
All persons returning from affected areas should take preventive measures to prevent mosquito bites as outlined above, for three weeks after having left an affected area.
Partners of pregnant women returning from affected areas should use preventive measures to avoid sexual transmission for the duration of the pregnancy.
Testing for Zika virus is possible, however, false-negative results can occur.
A negative result for Zika virus does not completely exclude the risk of Zika virus being present.
Merrion Fertility Clinic does not currently offer testing. Rather, we do not proceed with treatment until the advised time has passed.
Please discuss all travel with your fertility doctor or nurse.
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