HCV transmission

Question

Hi doc.I am a HCV positive person and a married man, still haven't started treatment yet.My wife and i are planning about conceiving a baby but i fear my sperm may transmit the HCV virus and the baby may most likely be infected.What are the chances of transmission?Is it possible withuot infecting the baby? Or is it best for us if we conceive the baby after treatment or under treatment? if so then what is the necessary precautions we must take ?

Answer

You will want to discuss these issues further with your wife's OB/GYN doctor. However, I would like to address a few issues:

  1. HCV is transmitted from the mother to the baby. The only way for you to infect the baby is to do so indirectly by first infecting your wife. The risk of HCV transmission through sex among monogamous couples is very low at about 1 percent. That being said, your wife should have at least a baseline test to be certain that has not occurred. If not, she is currently not at risk of passing the virus to the baby.

  2. If you want to have a child, it is best to do so before you are on HCV treatment which includes ribavirin, which can cause birth defects. Birth control is recommended during HCV treatment for the woman, even if it is her partner who is on HCV therapy. Furthermore, birth control is recommended for six months after stopping ribavirin since it stays in the body for a long time.