California Senator Introduces Bill That Would Allow HIV-Positive Men To Use Reproductive Services
California Sen. Carole Migden (D) recently introduced a bill (SB 443) that would allow HIV-positive men to use reproductive services, including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, under certain guidelines, the MediaNews/San Jose Mercury News reports. The state in 1989 began prohibiting HIV-positive people from donating sperm, blood or tissue in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. The law has prevented HIV-positive men from using reproductive services that lower the risk of transmitting HIV to their partners, the MediaNews/Mercury News reports. A technique called "sperm washing," which can be used to eliminate traces of HIV from semen, often is used before attempting artificial insemination or IVF for couples with an HIV-positive man (Zapler, MediaNews/San Jose Mercury News, 3/6). The bill would allow couples that include HIV-positive men to use reproductive services under the following guidelines: the HIV-positive donor's sperm is processed to minimize the risk of HIV transmission; informed mutual consent has occurred; and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine recognizes the sperm processing procedures, the California Chronicle reports (California Chronicle, 3/4). California is one of two states where couples with an HIV-positive man cannot use reproductive services, Deborah Cohan, medical director of the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center, said. She added that many of those couples try to conceive through intercourse, which increases the risk of HIV transmission to the woman and, potentially, to the infant. Of the 3,800 reported cases outside California in which couples with an HIV-positive man have used reproductive services, not one case of HIV transmission has been reported, according to Cohan (MediaNews/San Jose Mercury News, 3/6). "All families deserve access to the tools that reproductive science has to offer," Migden said in a statement, adding, "In this case, California law needs to catch up with technology because, whether inadvertent or not, it discriminates against HIV-positive men" (California Chronicle, 3/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.