What is CMV?
CMV stands for cytomegalovirus. It is a virus that can be transmitted to a developing fetus before birth. It is a member of the herpes family of viruses that include mono and chickenpox. The CDC states that nearly 1 in 3 children have already been infected with CMV by age 5, and by the age of 40, over half of the population is infected.
Primary CMV infection occurs in people who have never been exposed to the CMV virus before. Once a person becomes infected with CMV, the virus remains alive but dormant inside their body for the rest of their life. Recurrent CMV infection is when a dormant virus becomes active again. CMV infection is usually harmless and rarely causes illness. However, primary CMV infection can cause more severe problems for pregnant women than recurrent CMV infection.
CMV and Using a CMV Donor:
The FDA requires CMV testing on all men who intend to donate sperm. A positive result, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that a man will be ineligible to donate. Cryobank America will obtain semen samples from potential donors and then quarantine those specimens for at least six months. During that time, the man may have had CMV antibody levels tested several times. If the antibody tests indicate the possibility of a CMV infection close to the time of the sperm donation, the man will not be allowed to donate those specimens. If the testing is uncertain, those men will not be permitted to donate those specimens. However, if a donor tests positive for CMV IgG only, indicating a past infection, he will be allowed to contribute. These samples are labeled in the Cryobank America database as CMV-positive.
A woman considering pregnancy with donor semen should have CMV antibody testing as part of their IDT. Those with a past infection are at low risk of transmitting CMV infection to a fetus and are at little to no risk if they decide to use a CMV-positive donor. Women never exposed to CMV should consider using a CMV-negative donor. Even though the risk from a CMV-positive donor is low, it is impossible to determine whether there will be a risk for infection.
For additional information on CMV, this link is especially helpful:
If you have any questions regarding CMV please contact us at [email protected] or at 817-945-8708 and we will be happy to help you out!