Why don’t all clinics perform IVF for HIV positive patients?

Is IVF for HIV patient possible in every clinic? 

Are there any specific needs and demands to treat HIV patients?  If so, are all the clinics adapted to perform IVF for HIV positive? What are the reasons that some clinics can’t offer treatment for this group of patients.

Watch 3on1 #IVFANSWERS to know it all. Our experts are: 

  • Dr Àlex García-Faura – Scientific Director of Institut Marquès 
  • Dr Maria Arqué – International Medical Director at Fertty International
  • Dr Natalia Szlarb – Medical Director at IVF Spain 
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Dr Àlex García-Faura , Institut Marquès, Spain

Answer from Dr García-Faura

HIV has become a chronic infectious disease in the developed countries where the patient is able to follow standard medical care and treatment. The main problem is not with HIV couples or with IVF treatment but with serodiscordant couples, where the man is HIV positive and his sperm sample could be transmitting HIV to both the mother and the baby.
In these cases, we would always recommend trying to get HIV undetectable in a blood test before treatment, and a sperm wash can be performed to avoid the risk of transmission. Only a few clinics are able to perform this sperm wash technique and perform IVF in a safe way in serodiscordant couples.

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Dr Maria Arquè, Fertty International, Spain

Answer from Dr Arqué - International Medical Director

There are some clinics which may not have all the equipment required in the lab to undergo treatment for patients with HIV. The most important thing is that whenever we are treating patients who are HIV positive is that those patients are treated well by specialists in the infection and that their viral load is negative and their genital health is good. Whenever we have to use sperm or eggs from someone who has HIV, we can perform some procedures in the lab to clean the samples to diminish as much as possible the risk of any transmission or infection to the baby. Whenever we are speaking especially about a male who is HIV positive when the female is not HIV positive, the technique is very accurate and so far there are several studies showing that there has been no transmission of the HIV using IVF when all things were done correctly and properly in the lab. So this is a pretty safe technique. Then, after that, obviously, this pregnancy has to be followed up by a specialist who is completely aware of the situation as well, to follow up the protocols that are necessary for someone who might be at high risk of HIV if the partner is HIV positive.

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Dr Natalia Szlarb, IVF Spain

Answer from Dr Szlarb

I think it is a mistake and discrimination of HIV positive patients by the doctors who do not want to treat them. We have to be aware that through modern medication, patients well treated, who are HIV positive, have the same life expectancy as other members of population. I am proud to say that at IVF Spain we treat everybody. We do not discriminate anybody. The goal is to transfer an embryo to an HIV positive person who has a very low viral load which is undetectable. This allows us to achieve high pregnancy rates and children who are born from HIV positive parents who are born HIV negative.

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