HPV Transmission to a Surrogate

Last Modified: January 14, 2008

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I am a surrogate mother, and the woman in the couple I am dealing with has cervical cancer. She still has her ovaries and can produce eggs. Is there any chance [that] by putting her egg in my body that I can get cancer?

Answer

Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called HPV (human papilloma virus), which is transmitted through sexual contact and is considered an intracellular infection. This differs from a blood borne pathogen- like HIV or Hepatitis virus. You cannot transmit any type of cancer to another person, so that is not a risk, but the concern is transmitting the HPV to you. While there would be a risk of transmitting a blood borne pathogen (HIV, Hepatitis), there is no risk of transmitting HPV of which we are aware. There is nothing in the medical literature about HPV transmission to a surrogate, either. In addition, the majority of women will get HPV at some point in their life, but their normal immune systems are usually able to fight it off, allowing them to develop antibodies to the particular strain of HPV that they had. Read more about HPV and cervical cancer here.

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