Fertility Specialists of Texas is helping men with HIV safely realize their dreams of parenthood.
When performing fertility treatment for HIV+ men, we work with the Bedford Research Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts. It has developed the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR), a world-renowned protocol that combines PCR HIV Semen Testing and Sperm Washing to screen and prepare semen specimens from HIV+ men for safe IVF procedures.
The Goal: SPAR is used to help couples achieve a pregnancy without transmitting the father’s infection to the gestational carrier or the child.
The Premise: Using sperm from semen specimens with no detectable virus decreases, perhaps eliminates, the risk of transmitting the infection.
What is SPAR?
SPAR Has Essentially Four Stages
- Evaluation of the HIV-infected male partner. During this appointment, you will provide information about when you became infected, your current health status, any coexisting infections and your current antiviral therapy. All information will remain confidential.
- Collection of two HIV undoable specimens. A highly sensitive PCR essay for HIV will determine the semen viral burden by detecting free virus particles (HIV RNA) in seminal plasma and virus infected cells (HIV proviral DNA). Specimen collection is performed at the Bedford Research Foundation Clinical Laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts.
- Testing the semen specimens for HIV, washing the sperm and freezing it. This occurs in the laboratory. The laboratory ships frozen sperm from specimens with an undetectable viral burden to LGBT Fertility Clinic for in vitro fertilization (IVF).
- IVF. In vitro fertilization utilizing sperm with an undetectable viral burden is the final step of fertility treatment for HIV+ men.
Do I have to go to Boston to collect my semen specimens?
If you are using a Gestational Carrier or Surrogate, then yes, you need to go to Boston for your consultation and to collect your specimens for blood matched per FDA requirements (as explained in the surrogacy video here). If you are not using a surrogate, it may not be necessary to go to Boston to collect your specimens. Contact us for more information.