Fatherhood for men with HIV

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According to a new review, a man with HIV can safely use his sperm for in vitro fertilization. Over the last 20 years, researchers have refined ways of “washing” the semen of HIV infected men. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Without using the process, an infected man could pass the virus on to the mother and even the baby.

“I think the procedure is getting safer and safer,” said Dr. Deborah Anderson, a scientist at the Boston University School of medicine who studies HIV. She explained that “washing” semen infected with the HIV virus lower the risk of spreading the disease to a level that is acceptable “for couples that really want to have children.”

Fertility and Sterility published the new research from Evandro Chagas Clinical Research Institute in Rio de Janeiro. They looked at results from 17 earlier studies and came to the cumulative conclusion. Women used both in vitro fertilization and ICSI. ICSI is believed to be safer since it is one sperm injected directly into the egg, reducing exposure to HIV exposed fluids. About 80-85% of all the women became pregnant which is equal to the percentages of women achieving pregnancy without the challenge of HIV. In fact the numbers are slightly higher than average because these women did not have underlying fertility issues that most women seeking assisted reproductive technology have.

None of the women or babies tested positive for HIV. However, they did find that some semen samples tested positive for HIV. About 2-8 of every 100 samples. These samples were of course not used.

Many couples don’t seek out this solution though because of the expense of IVF.

Source: Fertility and Sterility, Reuters


 
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