How safe is it getting pregnant and risking herpes?

Dear Dr. Amy:

I am a 52 year old white male. I have had herpes for almost thirty years. I have not had an outbreak in over ten years.

I have recently remarried and my wife and I are thinking about having a child. We haven’t been having sex for a few years and we are wanting to get more sexually active. Several years ago when having sex I did not pass the virus onto her. To the best of my knowledge I have never passed the virus onto any other person. I have been aware of outbreaks when they occurred.

Do you think we can have sex safely without concern in an effort to get pregnant? If we get pregnant do you think it will be OK for the baby?

Thanks!! Any help you could be would be appreciated!!

Dr. Amy’s Response:

Dear Chet:

First, it is important for you not to be in denial about the fact that you have been diagnosed with herpes and that you have been a carrier of this virus for almost 30 years. You have not had an outbreak in 10 years, however, there is really no way of predicting when, how, or if you are going to have another outbreak. So, even though, as you said, you don’t believe that you transmitted it to anybody else and that you have been aware of when outbreaks are occurring, you are now considering getting pregnant.

To look at it as, I haven’t had an outbreak for 10 years and this will be OK and just shelve it and not bring this information out in the open, is certainly NOT recommended. It is absolutely imperative that you speak with your wife’s obstetrician, so he/she can make informed decisions about the health and wellbeing of your baby-to-be.


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