Believe it or not the HART process consists of just 3 steps for the sperm contributor or intended father, and 2 steps for the person carrying the pregnancy (your surrogate or the intended mother). These steps are in place to ensure the safety of your child and the carrier.
Steps for the intended father:
Step 1: The sperm contributor will have their HIV physician complete a short questionnaire for Dr. Dan Bowers, our Medical Director. Dr. Bowers is looking to verify at least six months of an undetectable viral load (<48) on a stable regimen which has not been changed during that time period.
Step 2: The sperm contributor will complete a consultation with Dr. Bowers via phone or in person if preferred. Dr. Bowers will then provide a clearance for the sperm contributor to proceed with semen testing and banking.
Step 3: The sperm contributor will travel to Huntington Reproductive Center in Pasadena, CA to complete testing and semen collection. Over a 5 day period, the sperm contributor will provide 3 semen samples and one blood sample. The semen samples are washed in a two-step process to remove any residual virus. Once blood results are cleared, the semen can be used to achieve pregnancy.
Steps for the carrier (surrogate or intended mother):
Step 1: The carrier will have a phone consultation with Dr. Dan Bowers to ensure a thorough understanding of the medical process and to have an opportunity to have any questions or concerns addressed.
Step 2: As an additional precaution, the carrier will be prescribed a medication to further reduce the chances of any viral transmission. This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis. Studies show that giving the antiretroviral medication Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) to an HIV-uninfected partner prior to exposure reduces the risk of transmission through unprotected intercourse with an HIV-positive partner by about 70-90%. The FDA has approved Truvada for HIV serodiscordant couples (one HIV positive and one HIV negative). This medication is safe to give during the first trimester of pregnancy and will start 3 days prior to the embryo transfer and will continue for 14 days. Truvada is one of the more frequently prescribed HIV medications during the last ten years and is extremely well tolerated.