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Nov 23, 1999

Is it possible to destroy HIV in semen for artifical insemination?

Response from Dr. Pavia

A lot of people want to know about artificial insemination and possible ways to get pregnant from an infected partner with less risk. It is not possible with any technology I know of to "destroy" HIV in semen. There are at least two centers that have been "sperm washing" - separating the sperm out of semen with some washing steps. The washed sperm are then used for artificial insemination. They report that they have not had any infections among the women.

Two cautions. One, these results have not been published and closely scrutinized. Two, there are very few fertility centers that seem willing to work with a couple with HIV on this, because the risk of infecting the woman never goes all the way to zero. This is a technique to watch for now, but there are a lot of questions which remain.


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