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Information Library CMV and Zika


When searching through donor profiles, you may be confused by a CMV positive test result, here is some information that should clear things up, but if you have questions about a particular donor’s CMV status, or CMV in general, please contact us.  

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a viral disease that is relatively common in the general population, particularly among those with routine exposure to children. Most people who are infected with CMV have no symptoms, and develop antibodies to the virus with no further consequences, while others have mild flu like symptoms. CMV can cause birth defects in a developing fetus when a woman is infected for the first time while she is pregnant, so the FDA mandates that sperm donors are tested for CMV status.   

Antibodies to CMV can be detected with a blood test: CMV Total. A positive CMV Total indicates that a person has been exposed to the virus at some point in the past. A negative CMV Total indicates no previous exposure. If the CMV Total test is positive, the donor is tested for CMV IgM to see if he is actively infected.  If the CMV IgM is positive, it means that he is actively infected and cannot donate sperm until the situation has resolved. If the IgM is negative, it means that the donor is not currently actively infected, and can donate sperm. 

You should ask your doctor if you need to be tested for CMV before you choose a donor.  Some physicians recommend testing all women for CMV and, if they are CMV negative, suggest that they only select a donor who is also CMV negative. Other physicians do not recommend that women get tested for CMV because sperm donors are regularly tested and so they do not believe that CMV status of the donor matters.  It is ultimately up to you and your doctor whether to test for CMV and whether the donor’s CMV status is a selection issue.



Zika virus is a viral disease that can be  transmitted by mosquito, through sexual activity, or by a pregnant woman to her fetus. Like people with CMV, people with Zika often have few or even no symptoms. However, if a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, the virus can cause significant birth defects and other complications in the developing fetus.  

Zika can be diagnosed by testing blood and urine, however Zika can live in reproductive tissue for longer than it can in blood.  Therefore, screening individuals for risk factors associated with the Zika virus is a better method than blood or urine tests when considering reproductive risk. Current CDC guidance suggests that women who have traveled to countries with a potential risk of Zika with or without symptoms of Zika virus should defer pregnancy for 8 weeks after possible exposure. Please refer to the CDC website for a current list of these countries.