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Hum Reprod. 2009 Nov;24(11):2676-8. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dep258. Epub 2009 Jul 22.

To do or not to do: IVF and ICSI in chronic hepatitis B virus carriers.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Research Institute Growth & Development (GROW), Maastricht University Medical Centre, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Several assisted reproduction procedures, such as IVF and ICSI, are available for a variety of infertility problems. In fertility clinics, patients are screened for blood-borne viral infections, including hepatitis B virus (HBV). Reasons for screening are prevention of vertical transmission and laboratory safety. We present the case of a 26-year-old female patient with a chronic HBV infection, whose husband tested negative for hepatitis B. She and her husband were referred to our fertility clinic because of subfertility. Analysis of the husband's semen indicated the necessity of an ICSI procedure. The current Dutch guidelines advise against ICSI in chronic HBV carriers, since the risks and effects of chromosomal integration of HBV DNA in the fetus are not well-known. In this article, we review the scientific evidence for the risk of introducing HBV virus into the oocyte and subsequent integration of HBV DNA into the human genome, and debate the question of whether to do, or not to do, IVF and ICSI.

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