I understand that is on the prescribing instructions.
My take is that it may have to do as much with legal issues as practical. I imagine that if you make sure you're wife doesn't handle the ribavirin (Rebetron), and you wash your hands after touching it, and you use condoms, that the ribavirin shouldn't get transferred to your wife. Should it get transferred to your wife, it could harm the fetus.
That said, none of us are doctors or pharmacists here, so you should really ask your doctor and/or pharmacist the same question before making any decisions. Also, the drug companies have free help lines with nurses available, and you might try them as well.
Because the drugs are known to cause birth defects. Here is the warning for the drug, your drug bottle should have a warning label also.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND WARNINGS
Combination REBETOL/INTRON A therapy is contraindicated in women who are pregnant and in the male partners of women who are pregnant. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy during therapy and for 6 months after completion of treatment in female patients, and in female partners of male patients who are taking combination REBETOL/INTRON A therapy. Women of childbearing potential and men must use two reliable forms of effective contraception during treatment and during the 6-month posttreatment follow-up period. Significant teratogenic and/or embryocidal effects have been demonstrated for ribavirin in all animal species studied.
You might want to wade through this with particular attention to Dr. Eugene Schiff's answer to a similar question. Dr. Schiff is one of this country's leading hepatologists. If this becomes an issue with your treatment doctor, you -- or your doctor -- might want to contact Dr. Schiff for clarification.
The same stuff has several names; ribavirin, rebetol, rebetron, copegus....and a few others that would turn into asterisks.
You just gotta love that answer from Schiff....That Doc is one of a kind!!