About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Research Indicates Screening for Transmissible Disease in ART Patients Not Necessary at Each Donation

by Kathy Jones on June 29, 2010 at 10:52 PM
Font : A-A+

 Research Indicates Screening for Transmissible Disease in ART Patients Not Necessary at Each Donation

The 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard today that European legislation that requires all couples undergoing assisted reproduction treatment (ART) to be screened for HIV and hepatitis at the time of every sperm or egg donation is unnecessary, expensive, and potentially distressing for patients.

Ms Ciara Hughes, Senior Embryologist at Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland (HARI), Dublin, told the conference that, under the new Irish legislation, screens for HIV 1 and 2 and hepatitis B and C have to be carried out within 30 days of the start of each ART cycle. Prior to the transposition of the EU Tissues and Cells Directive into Irish law, these diseases were routinely screened for in patients at HARI and the clinic's policy was to have these screens performed within six months of the start of a couple's cycle of treatment.


"Most of these couples are in a stable relationship, and we believed that they were at minimal risk of contracting a communicable disease once the initial screen had showed them to be negative," said Ms Hughes. "However, we had no definitive proof of this and it is why we decided to carry out our study."

The researchers looked at screening results over a ten-year period from 1023 couples who had returned to the HARI clinic for testing after a 180 day quarantine of their surplus frozen embryos and gametes. These couples had been clear on their first screening. Following re-testing, the results were exactly the same - no seroconversion (the development of specific antibodies in response to infection) had taken place in the intervening period. They also examined the screening results of 555 male oncology patients who were clear on first screening and returned for 180 days follow-up testing. Once again, all of them showed the same viral screen status and remained clear of infection.

"Since the introduction of the new testing requirement, we have carried out 17,494 viral screen tests either before therapy or within 30 days of egg collection and have not come across a single seroconversion," said Ms Hughes. "While I understand that safeguards are necessary to prevent the transmission of disease through the use of human tissue, assisted reproduction is not the same as organ donation or blood transfusion. The main difference is that in IVF the donation is to your cohabiting partner, whereas in tissue donation it is to an unknown person.

"Our research has proved what we already suspected; that there is negligible risk of seroconversion in this group of patients. Given the physical, financial, and emotional investment that each couple makes in undergoing a cycle of treatment, it is unjustifiable to request testing at the time of each donation in order to assess such a minimal risk."

In requiring testing within 30 days of each cycle, Ireland has interpreted the Directive in a particularly restrictive way. Other countries such as Denmark have introduced more relaxed laws, which only require testing every two years. Since the introduction of the new law, all couples in Ireland have to pay, on average, an additional 160 per cycle of IVF or ICSI. This could cost in the region of 1.5 million per year, said Ms Hughes. At the clinic couples could have up to three cycles of treatment per year, and depending on the timing, this could mean each couple paying an additional 480 per year on top of the treatment cost.

The legislation should be revised in order to factor in the unproven risks and to take into account individual patient needs, said Ms Hughes. "Our study is, to our knowledge, the first to carry out a risk assessment of the need for repeat viral screening in ART patients. Armed with this knowledge, a review of the European and Irish legislation in relation to assisted reproduction should be undertaken to avoid a lot of unnecessary costs, both financial and emotional, to couples undergoing ART," she concluded.

Source: Eurekalert


Latest Research News

Frozen Frontier: Humans Leave a Unique Microbial Mark on Mount Everest
Located at the South Col, the rocky area between Mount Everest and Lhotse serves as the final campsite for climbers as well as a frozen legacy of hardy microbes.
How Does Protein Synthesis in Diarrhea Causing Parasite Work?
The new finding is found to be valuable for screening specific medications and treatment against Giardia and other protozoan parasites.
Unlocking the Potential of CRISPR for Reversing Vision Loss
New CRISPR genome-editing strategy was found to have a positive impact in the treatment of inherited retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
 New RT-qPCR Kit Detects Influenza, COVID-19
H3N2 Influenza: The newly developed RT-qPCR Kit to identify influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory virus has got approval from ICMR.
 Rheumatoid Arthritis: Does Taking Sex Hormones Help Women?
Does hormone replacement therapy help rheumatoid arthritis? Yes, the use of exogenous sex hormones is associated with remission in perimenopausal female patients.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Research Indicates Screening for Transmissible Disease in ART Patients Not Necessary at Each Donation Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests