Many people with HIV have a strong desire to have children – and, indeed, many HIV-positive people are parents. Your HIV status doesn’t mean that you can’t think about having a family.
With the right care, HIV positive women can give birth to children without passing on HIV. There are also options for couples where both partners are HIV positive and where only the male partner has HIV.
In this section you'll find out:
and much more about getting pregnant, staying healthy during your pregnancy and increasing your chances of having a healthy, HIV-negative child.
There is a number of techniques and fertility treatments that can allow people who are living with HIV to become pregnant or father a child safely.
If you are a woman living with HIV, and your partner does not have HIV, you can use the simple technique of self-insemination to become pregnant. Another option is donor insemination.
We know now that being on effective HIV treatment means you are very unlikely to pass on HIV. If you or your partner have been on effective HIV treatment and meet certain conditions, you may be able to have unprotected sex in order to conceive . And taking HIV treatment is crucial to preventing HIV being passed on to your baby during pregnancy and birth.
If the male partner has HIV and isn’t on treatment, or doesn’t meet these conditions, he may be able to father a child using a technique called sperm-washing.
Talk to your healthcare team about your situation and the possibilities available to you.
It’s worth telling your HIV doctor or nurse that you’d like to try to become pregnant to get the best advice:
If you’re thinking about having a baby, but aren’t pregnant yet, it’s important to talk to your doctor first, so that he or she can check if you are in good enough health to have a baby safely. Staff at your HIV clinic can also tell you about how to get pregnant without putting your partner at risk of infection.
You can call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 for a referral to an HIV clinic.
Check out our Help and support page for parents and children with HIV ››
Some women find it difficult to become pregnant, and there can be medical reasons for this. If you are not pregnant after six months of trying, go back to the doctor. There may be tests and treatment that could help.
Adoption or fostering might be another option. Having HIV does not automatically mean you can’t adopt, but your health and circumstances would be assessed before you could apply, to ensure the child’s needs can be met.
Similarly, you can adopt or foster a child if you are single, or if you are gay or lesbian, as long as you can show that you can meet a child’s needs.
Next: Conception methods for couples affected by HIV ››
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This article was last reviewed on
by R. Bignami
Date due for the next review: 1/7/2017
Content Author: S. Corkery (NAM)
Current Owner: G. Hughson (NAM)
New British guidelines recommend treatment for everyone with HIV by Keith Alcorn, 24 June 2015, NAM
Townsend C et al. Low rates of mother-to-child transmission of HIV following effective pregnancy interventions in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 2000-2006. AIDS 22: 973-981, 2008
The British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS (EAGA) Position statement on the use of antiretroviral therapy to reduce HIV transmission, January 2013
British Association of Adoption and Fostering
NHS choices -Infertility
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Lehman DA & Farquhar C Biological mechanisms of vertical immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) transmission. Rev Med Virol 17: 381-403, 2007 BHIVA Guidelines for the management of HIV infection in pregnant women 2012 (updated 2014)
Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
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