Transmission of hepatitis B virus by artificial insemination

JAMA. 1987 Feb 27;257(8):1079-81.


Although the capacity for transmission of hepatitis B infection by semen is well recognized, the potential for transmission by artificial insemination remains theoretical. Currently, screening of semen donors for hepatitis B virus infection is not standard practice. We saw a case of acute viral hepatitis B in a woman following artificial insemination with semen from a donor subsequently found to be positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Both the donor serum and semen contained HBsAg and hepatitis B e antigen, and the HBsAg subtype was identical to that of the patient. Documentation of hepatitis B virus transmission by artificial insemination indicates that HBsAg screening of semen donors should be routine practice.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Semen / immunology


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens