It’s World AIDS Day – so can I have a baby if I am HIV positive?

aids-ribbonLast night Natalie was one of the expert speakers at Positive Parenting, a special event for HIV+ parents for World AIDS Day on 1 December. Bringing together HIV positive mums and dads and the professionals who support them, hosted by P3 Parents and supported by the Terence Higgins Trust, Positive Parenting was the first event of its kind in the UK, aiming to raise awareness that HIV positive status need not be a barrier to having a family.

The event’s website www.hivandfamily.com launches today where, among other things, you can read factsheets we have written on UK fertility law for HIV+ mums, dads and parents through surrogacy.

So can I have a baby if I am HIV+?

Yes, but under UK law you have an obligation not to intentionally or recklessly transmit the HIV virus to someone else (including your child, partner or any surrogate helping you) so you need to take care.

If you are an HIV+ mum you can minimise the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to your child by following medical advice during the pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Modern treatments which make your viral load undetectable increasingly also mean that you can conceive naturally without risk of infecting your partner (although do take medical advice).

If you are an HIV+ dad you can arrange for your sperm to be ‘washed’ to remove the virus, or if your viral load is undetectable take medical advice about whether you can conceive naturally with your female partner without risk to her. UK regulatory rules mean that it is only possible to have sperm washing or other fertility treatment in the UK if the sperm is being used to treat your female partner. If you are having fertility treatment with a surrogate (perhaps because you are single or in a same sex relationship or conceiving with your female partner with a surrogate) then washed or viral undetectable sperm cannot be used to treat her at a UK clinic. You will need to consider other options which may include:

  • your partner (if he is HIV negative) or a donor providing the sperm,
  • taking your UK surrogate to the US to have the fertility and sperm washing treatment there, or
  • using a specialist US surrogacy service which will find you a US surrogate and arrange safe fertility treatment.

Conceiving with a surrogate or an egg or sperm donor raises questions about who will be the legal parents of your child, and there may be hoops to jump through before or after the birth to secure your family’s legal status. It is important to be well informed and you can find out more from our Knowledge Centre.

Ultimately, being HIV positive does not preclude you from conceiving a child.  At NGA Law we have worked with several families conceiving through surrogacy where one or both of the intended parents was HIV+.

For World AIDS Day we are pleased to be part of the campaign to end the stigma around HIV+ parenting.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,