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Getting Pregnant: HIV-Positive Woman and HIV-Negative Man (Serodiscordant)

October 2012

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There are several different options for reducing the chances of passing on HIV while trying to get pregnant. If you are an HIV+ woman and an HIV-negative man seeking information on getting pregnant, the options below will help you understand what might be the best for you, and prepare for discussions with your health care provider. (For other options, you can return to the main "Getting Pregnant and HIV" page.)


Home Insemination

This is a cheap and simple way of getting pregnant. It involves having the man ejaculate (cum) into a clean cup or condom. If using a condom, be sure to use a condom without spermicide; after sex, pull the penis out of the vagina with the condom still on (you can also masturbate into a condom or cup, without vaginal sex). Then, using a syringe (without a needle) or baster, you suck up the semen and insert the syringe or baster deep inside the vagina. Once the syringe or baster is deep inside the vagina, you squeeze out and deposit the semen. You can get non-needle syringes at almost any pharmacy as they are commonly used to give medicines to babies. Your HIV provider may also have some to give you.

It is more effective to use this method when a woman is fertile, or when she is ovulating. Ovulation occurs when an egg is released from the woman's ovary and usually happens about two weeks before a woman starts her menstrual period. Insemination during the "fertile window" -- usually one to two days before ovulation and one day after ovulation -- has a greater chance of success. For more information on understanding and tracking your fertility, visit:


Female anatomy


Assisted Reproduction

This means that a sperm fertilizes an egg with the help of a medical technique or therapy. Assisted reproduction (sometimes called "assisted reproductive technology" or ART) is useful when the future parent(s) require help to prevent HIV transmission between partners, are using donor sperm, or are having difficulty getting pregnant at home because of fertility issues. Unfortunately, few facilities offer assisted reproduction to HIV+ patients, and few health insurance plans cover it. There are several types of assisted reproduction:

  • Intra-vaginal insemination (IVI): Very similar to home insemination, only done in a clinic.
  • Intra-uterine insemination (IUI): Semen (sperm and seminal fluid) is drawn up into a narrow tube, which is then inserted through the cervix into the uterus (womb). The semen is deposited in the uterus, where fertilization of the egg can occur.
  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF): The woman takes fertility drugs to help her prepare eggs (also called ripening her eggs). When eggs are ready (or ripe), they are removed from the ovary and put in a dish with sperm. Once there is a fertilized egg (embryo), it is put back in the woman's uterus.
  • Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): This is a specific type of IVF in which a sperm is injected directly into an egg using a very thin needle. When a fertilized egg occurs, it is returned to the woman's uterus. This method is used when a man's sperm do not swim well or are not normally shaped.


Unprotected Sex

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It is important to remember that no matter how low the HIV+ partner's viral load -- even if it is undetectable -- there is always some risk of passing HIV to the uninfected partner with any type of unprotected sex. If you choose this method, the risk of passing on HIV is lower if you only have unprotected sex when the woman is ovulating (when she is most likely to get pregnant).

The risk of passing HIV to an uninfected partner may also be reduced when the HIV+ member of the couple takes HIV drugs (continuous combination antiretroviral treatment), even when he or she has no symptoms and a relatively healthy immune system. Recent studies of serodiscordant heterosexual ("straight") couples showed that HIV drugs were very effective in preventing HIV transmission to the uninfected stable partner of someone with HIV.

Another way to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your uninfected partner is to have the HIV-negative partner take Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP means taking medicine before being exposed to something to prevent yourself from getting a disease or condition. In July 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the daily use of Truvada as PrEP for sexually active adults at risk for HIV infection. The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) now recommends that serodiscordant couples consider using PrEP as an additional tool to help reduce sexual transmission of HIV while trying to conceive.

If you intend to have unprotected sex, it is important to tell your sexual partner that you are HIV+. Exposing someone to HIV without telling them you are HIV+ can result in serious legal action being taken against you.

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This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
 
See Also
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
More on Becoming Pregnant With HIV

Reader Comments:

Comment by: jenny (windhoek) Wed., Nov. 26, 2014 at 4:17 am EST
iam also hiv positive and my husband is negative and want a baby I love the method
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Comment by: lydia (greeley .co) Tue., Aug. 5, 2014 at 11:23 pm EDT
I am an hiv positif and have tied tubes and my husband is hiv negatif but i realy need a baby i am crying all the time for it i need a baby please help i am ready to have tubal reversal thankyou for your help
Reply to this comment


Comment by: AYANDA (KZN) Wed., Sep. 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm EDT
AM NEGATIVE BT MY HUSBAND IS POSITIVE AND WE NEED A BABY NW WHAT TO DO?
Reply to this comment


Comment by: melisa c. (south africa) Mon., Dec. 31, 2012 at 9:20 am EST
this web is soo helpful m soo gna try the home insemination
Reply to this comment


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See Also
Newly Diagnosed? Words of Encouragement from HIV-Positive Women
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV Tools You Can Use