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Reuters Health Information (2011-02-21): HBV transmission via IVF might be possible


HBV transmission via IVF might be possible

Last Updated: 2011-02-21 11:26:12 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although there's no direct evidence of transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) to offspring following IVF, HBV may be present in oocytes and embryos, Chinese researchers report in a January 26th online paper in Fertility and Sterility.

Dr. Guijin Zhu and colleagues at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, note that HBV DNA has been identified in spermatozoa but the risk of transmission of HBV from oocytes and embryos hasn't been evaluated.

To do so, the team studied 31 couples with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative women and HBsAg-positive men, 41 couples with HBsAg-positive women and HBsAg-negative men, and 39 seronegative couples.

There were no HBV findings in the seronegative group. HBV DNA was detected in embryos from three couples with HBsAg-positive men, and HBV RNA was detected in embryos from 9 couples in this group.

"This observation is important because it provides direct evidence supporting the hypothesis that the sperm may act as a vector for the vertical transmission of HBV to the embryos, and that the HBV can replicate itself," Dr. Zhu told Reuters Health by email.

HBV DNA was identified in oocytes and embryos from three HBsAg-positive women and HBV RNA was found in oocytes and embryos from eight HBsAg-positive women. "Thus, there seems to be a risk of HBV transmission through oocytes and embryos from HBsAg-positive females," added Dr. Zhu.

There was no relationship between the HBV DNA load in follicular fluid and the HBV infection of oocytes and embryos.

Because HBV wasn't detected in all carriers, the researchers speculate that HBV may not completely penetrate through the zona pellucida of oocytes and embryos from some women.


Fertil Steril 2011.

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