National Post Examines ‘Major Obstacles’ to Conception for HIV-Positive Couples
Canada's National Post on Thursday -- in the fifth installment of a six-part series titled "Extreme Babymaking" -- examined the "major obstacle[s]" to conception for couples in which one or both partners are HIV-positive. HIV/AIDS in Canada, where about 50,000 HIV-positive people live, is "increasingly being thought of as a chronic condition or disability," according to the Post. Because HIV-positive people are living longer and healthier lives, many want to become parents using assisted reproductive technologies, including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization -- which allow them to conceive without having unprotected sex and risking transmitting the virus from one partner to the other. However, couples in which one or both of the partners are HIV-positive currently are "turned away" from fertility clinics, where doctors say they are "willing to assist HIV-positive individuals but cannot because the cost of setting up separate facilities to store the eggs, sperm and embryos belonging to those patients is too high," according to the Post. Dr. James Martin, who helps HIV-positive people conceive, said that "there is enough evidence to show that HIV-positive parents can conceive a child without infecting each other or their offspring," the Post reports. "Who has the right to say, 'I can't help you make a baby because you are going to die in 20 years?'" Martin asked, adding, "That's not my place to decide." To date, Martin has helped six HIV-positive couples have children. Some legal experts have said that "it's just a matter of time" before courts rule that fertility clinics cannot discriminate against HIV-positive people, the Post reports (Sokoloff, National Post, 9/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.