The Zika virus is very frightening for pregnant women who live in countries where the disease is already rampant. That's because the mosquito-borne virus is linked to serious birth defects like microcephaly, in which a baby's head doesn't develop fully. In the United States, however, most pregnant women are fortunate not to be burdened with these worries and concerns.
But the incidence of pregnant women with a known Zika infection in the U.S. is climbing. There are now over 200 pregnant women in America with a documented Zika infection. (The majority of these cases are a result of travel to an affected country, while others are through sexual transmission.) In May, the first case of microcephaly linked to a locally acquired Zika infection in the United States was confirmed.
As a fertility doctor, I have many patients concerned about how the Zika virus will affect their plans for pregnancy, especially if they're traveling. Here’s what I tell them: