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Program Allows HIV Positive Men to Safely Have Children
HIV can be manageable as a chronic disease. And thanks to technology, programs like California Fertility Partners, a Los Angeles Fertility Clinic, are helping men with HIV safely build families.
The clinic works with the Bedford Research Foundation in Boston, MA, which has developed a PCR assay to detect the HIV virus in semen, says Dr. Guy Ringler, a partner at California Fertility Partners. The Foundation’s program, SPAR (Special Program of Assisted Reproduction), was developed to allow men with HIV to have children with minimal risk to their partner or recipient of their sperm or embryos.
An HIV blood test is not a good indicator of the virus in semen. Approximately two-thirds of semen specimens produced by healthy, HIV infected men have an undetectable amount of HIV, SPAR research has found. Semen samples that are found to be free of the virus, in men whose blood tests positive for HIV, can be used in assisted reproductive procedures.
According to Ringler, Sperm that test undetectable for HIV, “is washed by centrifugation and swim-up protocols to further reduce the risk of any virus particles. The washed sperm sample is used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).” Pregnancy success rates vary by fertility clinic, and are dependent on a number of factors, as with all fertility treatment cycles.
“All individuals are counseled regarding possible risks,” Ringler adds. Medical literature contains reports of over 5,000 successful treatment cycles. The first SPAR baby was born in May 1999.
If you’re interested in learning more about this treatment, or to schedule an appointment with a Los Angeles Fertility Clinic, contact a Patient Care Advocate at 855-955-2229.