surrogacy for HIV-positive couples

Is it safe to be a surrogate for HIV-positive intended parents?

March 3, 2022

Although there are many concerning aspects surrounding HIV, it’s always important to know what is fact and what is misconception, or even pure fabrication at times.

One common example we often hear about is that HIV-positive people cannot conceive a HIV-negative child. Fortunately, there are solutions to those that may have these fears and medical science can greatly reduce or eliminate the risk of passing HIV onto their offspring. Today, both men and women who are HIV-positive can create and raise healthy children by working with their doctors to solve for these complications.

At Hatch, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. We support and help HIV+ intended parents achieve their dream of parenthood by using surrogacy as a means to protect their child, as well as protecting all other parties involved in the process.

Below are some of the more common questions we receive in regards to this particular medical journey. 

Can HIV be passed through surrogacy?

The short answer is that it is extremely unlikely a surrogate would contract HIV from the intended parent she carries for. Although it is medically possible, there is not a single documented case of a surrogate becoming HIV positive from carrying a child for HIV positive intended parents and thousands of babies have been born to people living with HIV through surrogacy.

It’s important to note that these medical details are disclosed upfront in every surrogacy agreement, and all surrogates can choose to not pursue their journey with HIV+ parents if they do not feel comfortable doing so. 

How to prevent HIV transmission through surrogacy?

HIV does not live in the sperm themselves; it only is transmittable via the seminal fluid that they are in. Because of this, a process called “sperm washing” is frequently used to help HIV-positive men conceive a healthy, HIV-negative baby. Washed sperm has been used successfully and safely in thousands of cases. 

Intended parents living with HIV need to provide multiple semen samples for testing. Depending on the test results the semen is “washed” using a process through the SPAR program, which removes the seminal fluid and the healthiest sperm are put into a new fluid for preservation. This makes the sperm safe to be used in IVF. 

The surrogate can also be given medication to prevent transmission of HIV as an added precaution, which is designed to be administered safely and without additional risk to the surrogate or the child.

What is the SPAR program? 

The Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) has allowed thousands of HIV+ men to build their families through surrogacy. 

SPAR is offered by The Bedford Research Foundation, an expert facility near Boston, Massachusetts that can assist HIV+intended parents in creating a safe sperm sample to use for IVF. This international program is designed to protect surrogates and babies from contracting HIV. 

The SPAR program provides consultation for both the surrogate and intended parents to explain the process and risks involved as a result of their services. After the embryo transfer, the surrogate needs to undergo three HIV antibody tests at 3 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. The SPAR program will automatically mail test kits to the surrogate. 

To learn more about this specialized program, please visit here.

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