The day following she returned from her destination wedding in Puerto Rico, Elizabeth Agraz, of Los Angeles, received some unexpected news at a fertility appointment: Due to issues about the Zika virus, she would have to delay her long-awaited pregnancy at least two more months.
“It’s been a battle,” Agraz, whose efforts to get pregnant had been previously thwarted by thyroid cancer and other healthcare problems, told ABC News.
Agraz and her husband, Justin Sanchez, began arranging their trip in 2014, lengthy ahead of Zika -- the virus now identified to trigger birth defects -- began generating headlines. They had paid for the majority of the wedding. A lot of loved ones members had currently purchased their tickets. So, they decided to go ahead with it.
“We truly didn’t feel it was going to affect us,” Agraz mentioned.
Dr. Kristin Bendikson, the fertility specialist Agraz met with shortly following her wedding in May well, said that the majority of her individuals did not know about the official travel warnings for couples hoping to get pregnant.
“We’re trying to get the word out to our individuals,” said Bendikson, who also teaches at USC Keck School of Medicine.
The U.S. Centers for Illness Handle and Prevention recommends waiting at least two months right after traveling to Zika-affected regions prior to obtaining unprotected sex and attempting to conceive. If the male companion is diagnosed with Zika, the CDC raises the bar to six months due to the virus’ ability to linger in blood and body fluids, specifically semen.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also set guidelines for donated tissues, which contain sperm and eggs: Those diagnosed with Zika, and even these who risk contracting the virus via travel or sexual speak to, are viewed as ineligible for anonymous donation for six months. These recommendations do not apply to couples.
Provided these risks, couples like British Olympian Greg Rutherford and his companion Susie Verrill have opted to see fertility specialists long prior to traveling to South America. Verrill wrote in Regular Problem on Tuesday about their selection to freeze Rutherford’s sperm prior to the Olympics.
“It’s just a further point we do not want to chance,” she wrote.
Bendikson mentioned she, as well, has observed individuals who decided to freeze sperm ahead of traveling to South America.
“I feel it is a wonderful notion for folks who don't want to delay,” she said, adding that a two- or six-month wait may possibly look short to younger couples, but for women more than 35, “every month counts.”
Pursuing fertility procedures like in vitro fertilization can demand a series of costly and time-consuming visits to harvest and fertilize eggs, Bendikson said. For ladies who schedule these visits for the duration of the summer time -- like the many teachers Bendikson sees in her practice -- having to wait a couple far more months can expense females a complete year, she said.
Agraz and Sanchez, nevertheless, hoped to prevent waiting any longer. Throughout their wedding, they lathered up with bug spray and wore mosquito repellent bracelets on their arms and legs.
“We nevertheless got bombarded by mosquitoes,” stated Sanchez, who also traveled to Rio de Janeiro in February for his bachelor party. Even so, neither developed symptoms, so the couple hoped they could be in the clear.
It is challenging to rule out possessing been infected with Zika, which is why experts advise waiting anyway. Most adults who contract the virus practical experience no symptoms. Furthermore, testing is only advisable by the CDC for travelers who are currently pregnant or for these who have seasoned symptoms.
Couples like Agraz and Sanchez, who had no symptoms but planned to get pregnant, are not integrated in these testing recommendations, according to Dr. James Segars, who sat on the Zika guidance committee for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
“For our couples who are infertile, Zika is a problem,” Segars, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Johns Hopkins University, told ABC News. “I’m not surprised that people today are pondering of approaches about this.”
In addition, tests can take weeks for the final results to come back, and some tests are not able to distinguish amongst Zika and related viruses like dengue and chikungunya. According to CDC documents, a test might suggest a patient has had Zika when in reality he or she has not.
“If the test is not one hundred % precise, you’re going to have to wait [to get pregnant] anyway,” Bendikson said.
Regardless of the disappointing wait, even so, Sanchez mentioned he sees their story as a constructive a single -- a welcome contrast to countless reports about households whose lives have been turned upside-down by Zika.
“There’s nevertheless persons out there that are moving forward with life,” he said. “You can not be scared forever.”
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