Cytomegalovirus or CMV is a member of the herpes family of viruses that also includes chickenpox and mono. CMV infection is common affecting 50 to 95% of adults and natural immunity to the virus can be acquired through saliva or intimate contact.
It is rarely diagnosed in healthy adults and children because it usually produces few, if any symptoms. In newborns, however, the virus can cause birth defects and congenital disabilities.
To limit the risk of infection to the unborn child, Health Canada requires CMV testing for men who intend to donate sperm. The only way to be certain of your CMV (immune) status is a blood test.
Women intending to achieve pregnancy with donor sperm, the following recommendations are made:
CMV negative women do not have antibodies to the virus and should consider using a CMV negative sperm donor to reduce the risk of infection to the unborn child.
CMV positive women have antibodies and resistance to the virus from previous exposure, so they can select a sperm donor who is either CMV positive or CMV negative.
It is an important issue worth discussing with your physician if you have any questions or concerns.