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HIV and Sperm Washing: How Can We Conceive Safely?

November 8, 2013

What’s a couple to do when the male partner is HIV positive and wants to start a family without risking transmission of the virus to his HIV negative female partner?

Fortunately, sperm washing is available to reduce the risk of transmission to the partner and unborn child. Sperm washing is also an option when both partners test HIV positive, and want to reduce the risk of reinfection.

Sperm washing involves a machine that “spins” the semen sample so that sperm and semen separate from one another. This is beneficial to HIV positive patients, as the virus is carried primarily in the seminal fluid. The washed sperm is then used in an intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle or in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) depending on the couples’ reproductive history and current fertility test results. The process may be done with or without the use of fertility drugs.

Not every fertility clinic has the ability to quarantine the sperm specimen in their lab, therefore they may not offer sperm washing to HIV positive patients. Some clinics partner with outside lab facilities capable of quarantining the specimen.

The first step in starting your family safely is consulting a fertility expert in your area.

Check out our HIV and TTC (Trying to Conceive) forum on!

Comments (1)

I need to do an IUI because even though my partner is undetectable he still has HIV and I don't. They said we could conceive naturally, it's not happening. I'm on Truvada as a protectant.

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