Can an HIV-positive couple conceive safely through IVF?

Although IVF is mostly considered a great treatment option for couples dealing with infertility; it has been effective in dealing with uncommon fertility challenges as well.

A married couple with either one or both partners affected with human immuno-virus (HIV), the chances of a successful pregnancy might be bleak. The data shows that the number of HIV infected people is rising but what is more disturbing is that over 80% of these people are in their reproductive age group.

Even if the couple wants to plan parenthood, natural conception may not be their best bet. Medical advancements in assisted reproduction technology, has however, given such couples a way to conceive and start their parenthood journey.

Dr Gautam Allahbadia, a note-worthy authority in assisted reproduction and fertility medicine is among the first figures to have worked in making pregnancy viable for HIV-positive couples in India, and understanding male infertility. Talking to him about the viable pregnancy options for HIV couple, he answers some important questions.

Can an HIV positive couple have children?

Dr Gautam Allahbadia explains that for seropositive people, successful procreation is possible. Through options such as IVF, a couple can safely overcome the fertility challenge.  A couple in which a male partner is infected by HIV can consider artificial insemination /IUI or IVF-ICSI.

What are the treatment options for HIV positive males?

For HIV-discordant couple, IVF is an effective treatment option where the motile sperm is separated from the rest of the ejaculation using sperm washing. Eggs are collected from the woman after hormone-stimulation and are fertilized in the laboratory by injecting a single washed sperm from her husband into each egg. The resulting embryos can be transferred to the wife’s uterus and/or frozen for later use. These procedures are believed to minimize the risk of HIV transmission (although the number of cases is low).

Though, the process of IVF-ICSI is expensive, it does prove to be a viable option for HIV males.

What are the treatment options for HIV positive females?

As for female patients, Dr Gautam Allahbadia recommends that healthy conception can be achieved with the help of antiretroviral treatment and a subsequent In-vitro Fertilization procedure. The woman is given medication during the entire pregnancy process to minimize the risk of infection transmission to the child.

When fertility specialists first addressed the issue, none of these options for HIV patients were available. But years of research and after a slew of new advances, risk reduction strategies have been really effective in helping couples conceive.

With assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF, HIV-positive people have strong chances of conceiving healthy babies. Several patients have conceived healthy and HIV-negative babies through IVF,” said Dr Gautam Allahbadia.

Sumit Srivastava

Published by
Sumit Srivastava

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