IVF Viral Screen Blood Test, from our experts to you.
Dr Natasha Fernando MBBS, MRCGP

Medical Director

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What tests need to
be done before IVF?

A virology screening test is a standard step, required by most fertility clinics before you start treatment. Tests for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are usually required. Viral checks may also be needed for other infections, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like syphilis. 

Our IVF Viral Screen Blood Test helps you detect infections that could be passed on to your unborn baby, allowing you to seek treatment and minimise this risk. It also means the medical teams working with you can take measures to protect themselves from infection and plan suitable management of your treatment. 

If you test positive for any of these infections, you should be offered appropriate treatment and receive specialist help and advice.

What can I learn from
an IVF viral screen?

Our IVF screen blood test checks for viral and bacterial infections by detecting antigens and antibodies in your blood. 

It can tell you if you have HIV or have been exposed to syphilis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Checking both hepatitis B core and surface antibodies can help to distinguish previous hepatitis B infection from immunity acquired through vaccinations.

Our doctors will interpret your results alongside your medical history and advise whether you need to visit a specialist for further investigation.

What causes the viruses
included in this test?

HIV and hepatitis B are transmitted via bodily fluids, including semen, vaginal fluids, and blood. They’re most commonly passed on through unprotected sex with an infected partner. Syphilis is also usually spread through unprotected sexual contact, including oral sex. 

Hepatitis C is usually passed on through blood-to-blood contact, often from sharing contaminated needles, although it can also be passed on through sexual intercourse.

All the viruses included in this test have to potential to be passed from mother to baby, either during pregnancy or birth, and in the case of HIV, through breastfeeding.

of the test

There is a possibility that you may receive a positive result when you don’t have one of these viruses — this is known as a false positive. The opposite can also occur, and this test might miss that you have an infection (a false-negative result). False negatives can often occur when tests are taken too soon after infection. If you feel there’s a chance you could’ve been exposed to ones of these infections, but received a negative result, you should take the test again — usually three months after exposure. For some viruses like hepatitis C, it may take up to six months for antibodies to be detectable in the blood.

What's Included?

Select profile for more information

HIV - 1 and HIV - 2 antibodies and P24 antigen

HIV antibodies are made by the immune system in response to infection with either Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 or 2. P24 antigen is a protein from the core of the HIV virus, it is found during the initial infection with HIV and disappears following seroconversion. This test will look for the presence of HIV antibodies and p24 antigen in the blood and will report whether they are detected or not.

Hepatitis B surface antibodies This test measures antibodies against hepatitis B in your blood. It will tell you whether you are immune to hepatitis B or whether you do not have immunity. In most of the population, a result greater than 10 IU/L means that you have sufficient antibodies for immunity. A result less than 10 IU/L means that you are not immune. If you are prone to exposure to hepatitis B through your work (Exposure Prone Procedures a EPP), then you will require a result greater than 100 IU/L to confirm immunity. If your result shows that you have immunity to hepatitis B it means that you are both protected from possible infection and will not pass it on to another person. You can acquire hep B immunity through prior vaccination(s), or by having recovered from a previous infection. This test will not tell you whether you are currently infected with hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is an infectious viral disease which causes your liver to become inflamed and enlarged. Most people recover from an acute hepatitis B infection by themselves within around 6 months. However, for others, the infection becomes chronic (prolonged) which can lead to lasting liver damage. Hepatitis B can have few symptoms, especially in the early stages. People who are at risk of becoming infected with hepatitis B are those who have had close contact with others who are infected (including unprotected sexual contact). Coming into contact with infected blood (e.g. through sharing needles, some contact sports) will also put you at risk of becoming infected with hepatitis B. Health care workers are often required to check their immunity against hep B for work purposes.
Hepatitis C antibodies Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect and damage the liver. It is mainly transmitted through sharing needles while injecting drugs, through unprotected sex with an infected person and can also be passed from mother to baby. Many who are infected with the virus are unaware as there are often no noticeable symptoms. However, a chronic hepatitis C infection can cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) which can lead to chronic liver disease. Hepatitis C antibodies are produced by the body in response to exposure to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Testing for these antibodies in the blood helps to identify a hepatitis C infection.
Syphilis antibodies Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, spread through sexual contact. Which is important to test for and treat as the infection can cause a range of health problems if left untreated. Antibodies are produced by the immune system when there is an infection in the body. Checking for syphilis specific antibodies in the body helps to identify an infection.
Hepatitis B Core antibodies IgG and IgM Antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) is used as a marker of acute, chronic, or resolved HBV infection, useful in determining a previous exposure to HBV infection. A positive IgM anti-HBc result indicates a recent HBV infection. IgG antibody subclass of anti-HBc is a marker of past infection with HBV.
Hepatitis B surface antigen The hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) is a protein on the surface of the hepatitis B virus, present in the blood during a hepatitis B virus infection. Checking for this surface antigen helps to identify acute and chronic HBV infections. Positive surface antigen meaning the virus is present and that the individual is infectious.

How to prepare
for your test

Special Instructions

Prepare for your IVF Viral Screen Blood Test by following these instructions. If there is a chance that you have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or C then please let us know how long before taking your sample this occurred. Your sample should be taken 4 weeks after any hepatitis B exposure. Take your test at least 4 weeks after any possible HIV exposure, a repeat test is recommended at 12 weeks. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed. Please let us know if you have had a hepatitis B vaccination. You should wait at least two months after your vaccination before taking this test.

Frequently asked questions

When should I take this test?
You can take our viral screening blood test before you start IVF treatment to check for viruses. However, if you’re already pregnant, you may want to check that you’re clear of infectious diseases that could be passed onto your child, so that appropriate steps can be taken to minimise the risks.
What are the symptoms of the viruses included in this test?

The viruses included in this test can often have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms in the early stages. And some of the symptoms they produce, such as flu-like illnesses, can easily be mistaken for something else. This means that in some cases, people are unaware they have them.

However, if you have one of these viruses, there is a possibility you could pass it on to others and that it could cause serious, potentially life-threatening problems at a later stage.

Can I have IVF if I have an infectious disease?
A positive result doesn’t automatically mean you won’t be able to have IVF treatment. But it’s important that, if possible, these infections are identified before you start treatment so any appropriate additional steps can be taken.
Can I take a virology blood test for IVF at home?
Yes, you can choose to have a nurse visit you at your home to take a blood sample from a vein in your arm (a venous sample). You can also take pre-IVF blood tests at our nationwide partner clinics.
How can I access the results of my virology screen blood test?
You can access the results of your IVF blood test on your MyMedichecks dashboard, alongside doctor’s advice and any next steps.

IVF Viral Screen Blood Test explained


Our viral screen blood test checks for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis.

HIV is a virus that damages your immune system, weakening your ability to fight infections and disease. A pregnant woman with HIV can pass on the virus to her baby during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. However, with the right treatment and precautions, the risk of transmitting HIV can be significantly reduced.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are types of the hepatitis virus that can cause liver damage. A pregnant woman can pass these infections to her baby during birth (although this is much rarer in cases of hepatitis C than hepatitis B). Appropriate medications can help reduce the risk of transmission.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacterium. It can be serious if it’s left untreated and can be passed to your baby during pregnancy or birth. It also increases your chances of miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth. However, you can receive treatment with antibiotics, even during pregnancy. 


Where can I get advice and support?


Starting IVF treatment can be an overwhelming experience. If you need support or reassurance, your doctor and fertility clinic team can help. 

There are also organisations that can offer advice and guidance, both in relation to pregnancy and your sexual health. These include the Family Planning Association (FPA), which provides information on STIs and pregnancy. You can also visit your local sexual health clinic for information and support. And the Terrence Higgins Trust has a free helpline offering information, support, and advice about HIV and sexual health.