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Zika Virus and Birth Defects

Starting in 2015, there were increased reports of a serious birth defect called microcephaly as well as other severe fetal brain defects and reports of poor pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women who contracted the Zika virus. The exact association is unclear and is evolving. Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes but can also be spread through sex with an infected individual. Although outbreaks began in 2015 in Brazil, the Zika virus has now been found in other countries, especially in the Caribbean as well as in some parts of the United States.

Individuals and couples who are pregnant or planning to conceive are cautioned to avoid travel to active Zika areas or to take additional precautions if travel to these areas cannot be avoided. It should also be noted that even potential exposure to Zika will delay fertility treatments. If you have traveled to an area affected by Zika, additional testing is required before you can begin your cycle.

New information about this disease is constantly emerging, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the most recent updates. The CDC's website is the best source of up-to-date information on the Zika virus.