CMV and Embryo Adoption

Did you know that June is National CMV Awareness Month?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus, closely resembling a common cold, which affects over half the adult population by the age of 40. If infected, you are often unaware because most people don’t show symptoms. About 85% of women will have antibodies, showing a past infection (likely during childhood).

About a decade ago, a connection was discovered between some mild medical disabilities in children and women who contracted CMV during their pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one out of every 200 babies are born with congenital CMV. One out of 5 of those babies will have to develop birth defects or other long-term health problems related to the virus.

How do you know if you have CMV?

Often your adoption agency or embryo adoption organization will request you get tested for CMV, as well as receive a doctor’s approval before moving forward with your embryo adoption. Your reproductive endocrinologist will request a blood test checking for the CMV antibodies.

How does this affect your embryo adoption?

Fertility clinics in the United States test for CMV antibodies in women who have undergone in vitro fertilization using donor gametes, as well as women having transfers with donor embryos. If you have positive results for the CMV antibodies, it is unlikely you will contract CMV during your pregnancy. If you have negative results, you can be at a greater risk of contracting CMV during your pregnancy. You should take precautions to prevent illnesses by, washing your hands regularly.

Some REs suggest to their patients to only match with embryo donors who have also tested negative for CMV, reducing the risk of infection. However, this often unnecessary, as there have been no reported cases of a woman contracting CMV from her adopted embryos.

If you desire to wait for embryos where the donors are CMV negative, then it could possibly take longer to find a match. Since over half of the population will contract CMV, over half of the donated embryos will also be CMV positive.

If you want further information about CMV please watch our webinar Understanding CMV: How it Relates to Embryo Adoption.

To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.