If you are an HIV-positive person who is looking to conceive safely without transmitting the virus to your partner and your unborn baby, the first step is to get your viral load into an undetectable status. Your partner must also begin a PrEP therapy regimen to decrease the risk of transmission when attempting to conceive your future baby. Second, speak to your provider about your desires to grow your family, your provider will tell you that current ART (antiretroviral therapy) allows couples to carry a fully natural pregnancy to term without the risk of transmitting the virus to the unborn baby.
COUPLES COUNSELING GOES A LONG WAY
Both partners need to undertake special considerations before deciding to conceive. Talking to a healthcare professional is ideal and also recommended in such cases. Both partners are given a tailored medical regime to lower the risk of virus transmission. Apart from protecting the unaffected partner, this medical therapy also reduces HIV transmission to the baby.
Appropriate counseling by reproductive health care professionals answers many questions beforehand and makes the whole process much easier than it would have been otherwise. Your doctor might guide you regarding the risks for both the unaffected partner and the baby in such situations. Consulting a fertility clinic or a reproductive health expert might also be needed.
APPROACHES TO CONCEIVING AS A HIV-POSITIVE & HIV-NEGATIVE COUPLE
There are two options available. Couples can get pregnant on their own or with the help of fertility specialists.
The first approach is through sexual intercourse without condom usage during the partner’s ovulation cycle. This process increases the odds of becoming pregnant, however, it is relatively less safe. The steps include:
- The HIV-positive partner taking HIV medication regularly to achieve an undetectable viral load.
- The HIV-negative partner taking PrEP therapy for the recommended amount of time to minimize the chance of infection.
- Sexual intercourse only taking place during the time that the woman is ovulating to limit HIV exposure to the HIV-negative partner.
The second approach does not require sexual intercourse between the two partners. This is called intrauterine insemination and it is performed by fertility specialists. A needle is used to take semen from the man and is injected into the vagina of the female. This method is considered a safe approach, however, the costs are usually out of pocket.
For more information regarding what approach is right for you, contact your health care provider.