Why It Gets Better: HIV Positive Men Becoming Biological Fathers

Stuart Bell, co-owner of Growing Generations, a organization that helps match up people who want to become parents with surrogates, writes of his wonder at having gone from watching HIV-positive men go from dying to becoming biological parents. This change came about through medical advances that allowed for testing of sperm to ensure that it was free of HIV and, also, finding willing surrogates.

From The Huffington Post:

Within a few months we had located a clinic in Boston that had been testing and processing sperm for heterosexual married couples where the husband was HIV-positive. We convinced them to offer the same process to our couple, who would be working with an egg donor and a surrogate. We also found an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic in Boston that would complete the process using sperm from our client, eggs from a donor, and a surrogate to carry the baby.

Everything was in place except perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle: the surrogate. Would we be able to find a surrogate willing to do something far beyond what we had ever asked before?

We decided to approach a woman who had already completed one surrogacy with us. She was a teacher, and we hoped she would understand that with the testing and processing of the sperm, along with the nature of the IVF process itself, it would be virtually impossible for her to become infected with HIV.

She not only understood but said that it would be an extra honor to help someone who had already gone through so much pain in his own life.

One year later she delivered healthy twins for Tony and Jack, who were the happiest parents on the planet — a couple who, just a few years prior, might have been planning a funeral instead of decorating a nursery.

That birth was the first of many more to come. Since then we’ve helped over 50 couples and individuals with HIV have their own children. We have expanded our program and opened our own clinic, HIV Assisted Reproductive Treatment (HART), to meet the growing number of men with HIV who want to have their own biological children.

We have partnered with the leading medical experts, who are utilizing the most advanced technology to improve the process and make it even safer. We even helped overturn the law in California that prohibited sperm from a person with HIV from being used in assisted reproduction.

Quite simply, we’ve created miracles that, just a short time ago, would have been thought insane.

Going from HIV as a generation-ender to helping those with HIV birth new generations is another reason why it gets better.
Read the full article

Why It Gets Better is a series of postings showing, real-time, concrete, tangible ways that life is getting better for LGBT people.

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