HIV and the desire to have children

In Germany, about 56,000 to 60,000 people are currently infected with HIV; this includes about 11,000 women. Due to improved treatment options, HIV patients have a life expectancy that is close to normal. This results in the opportunity of long-term life planning with respect to career and family planning. Some studies have shown that HIV patients are just as likely to have children as people who are unaffected by the condition.

HIV and fertility treatment

Fertility treatment for HIV patients is possible in our centre. Under certain conditions (as is also the case for all other patients)  there exists a claim to have part of the costs covered by the health insurance company. A necessary prerequisite for treatment is for the patient to complete an antiretroviral treatment with close monitoring by the doctor (HIV outpatients). The viral load must be under the detection limit, i.e. <40 copies of the virus/ml, for at least six months (HIV outpatients). Additionally, no other infections with sexually transmissible diseases may be present, such as e.g. Syphilis or genital herpes. Whether insemination or IVF/ICSI  is carried out is decided after an extensive advisory consultation as well as in dependence on further findings

Opportunities and risks

HIV does not lead to any deterioration in the mother during the pregnancy, nor are there any indications of an increased rate of birth defects with antiretroviral treatment (www.aidshilfe.de/kinderwunsch). Some specific details must be considered, and close monitoring of the affected mother must take place (www.hiv.de/leben-mit-hiv/kinderwunsch-und-schwangerschaft)

In the choice of drugs, as well as in treatment, there are no differences between HIV positive patients and unaffected patients.

In HIV-positive men a semen sample is cleaned, frozen and only used in treatment after determination of the viral load in the ejaculate. In this way, you can be sure that sperm that are used in IVF or ISCI are not infected with the HIV virus.

At the Dortmund Fertility Centre, we will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

After the diagnosis of “azoospermia”, we had almost given up our dream of having children. The Dortmund Fertility Centre gave us courage and after successful TESE followed by ICSI treatment we became the happy parents of a boy. Some time later, we then had another treatment with the frozen embryos, which gave our son a healthy sister.

Verena S.

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