1 de November, 2023

Pregnancy with HIV: alternatives to have a child without risk of contagion

Thanks to technology and research in reproductive health issues, currently having a pregnancy with HIV is possible. Nowadays, people affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can have a better quality of life and even have a child of their own without risk of contagion.

This is possible through Assisted Reproduction treatments such as Artificial Insemination or In Vitro Fertilization if a couple wishes to achieve pregnancy and have a baby without HIV. In this article, we explain these options.

Pregnancy with HIV through Assisted Reproduction

Some couples who want to have a baby and in which only one member is HIV positive can do so through different Assisted Reproduction procedures.

Artificial Insemination allows a serodiscordant couple (a couple is serodiscordant when one of its members has HIV and the other does not) to achieve a pregnancy without having physical contact through sexual relations, which prevents contagion from one to another.

This technique is recommended for couples who are under 35 years of age, who have not been diagnosed with previous fertility problems, and when the man's seminal quality is adequate.


In Vitro Fertilization, when is it recommended to achieve a pregnancy with HIV?

On the other hand, in case there is a situation of infertility in any of the members or if the man is an HIV carrier, In Vitro Fertilization is the ideal technique to conceive a pregnancy.

It is important to mention that HIV is not found in sperm but in seminal plasma, which is the mixture of fluids that make up semen. Therefore, semen washing can be performed in Assisted Reproduction laboratories to isolate the sperm.

Once the sperm are separated, it is necessary to analyze a small amount of them using a test called PCR, to determine that HIV is not present; subsequently, the sperm are frozen and stored for later use.

At the same time that this procedure is carried out, the woman seeking to become pregnant performs ovarian stimulation and, subsequently, the puncture to obtain the most appropriate eggs and perform In Vitro Fertilization with the sperm that were previously stored in the laboratory.

Pregnancy of a woman with HIV

Whether pregnancy is achieved through Assisted Reproduction or spontaneously, if the woman is a carrier of the virus, she must undergo constant check-ups to monitor her health and that of her future baby.

In certain cases the period of time may vary, in accordance with what the Maternal-Fetal specialist doctor recommends; However, in many cases, serological controls (identification of specific antibodies in the blood) of the pregnant mother must be carried out every 3 months to confirm that the viral load remains undetectable and the possibility of transmitting HIV to the baby is reduced to a minimum.

With adequate treatment and serological control, it is possible that the risk of vertical or perinatal transmission (transfer of HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding), which can occur from the mother to her baby, can be reduced. practically zero. In addition, the placenta acts as a protective barrier for HIV particles.

However, the mother should take particular care of her diet and keep herself protected with a condom when having sexual relations during pregnancy, since any infection or loss of defenses can result in complications.

Always remember to consult your specialist doctor

Finally, it is important to emphasize that each case is different, and in a pregnancy with HIV its treatment, medication, and monitoring may vary, according to the particular characteristics of the patients and their life history.

Therefore, it is important to consult with a fertility doctor to make an accurate diagnosis of the reproductive situation of the person who has HIV and wants to get pregnant, as well as their partner (if they have one), who has the knowledge and experience necessary to provide the most appropriate solution with the lowest risk of contagion.

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