Two HIV-positive men have become fathers with their HIV-negative female partners following a breakthrough medical procedure in Melbourne, the Herald-Sun reported.
The IVF treatment involved the men’s semen being tested to ensure there was no detectable HIV and then washed in a procedure never before employed in Australia.
It’s fantastic for these people. It just more normalises their life and it’s fantastic for the IVF people to have provided service to a whole new group of people that not everybody was willing to take on, Associate-Professor Anne Mijch told Sydney Star Observer.
The procedure was performed by Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital in affiliation with the Royal Alfred Hospital and the Burnett Research Institute. Victorian doctors waited five years for permission to employ the procedure, which is available overseas. Italian studies of the procedure are yet to report any HIV transmission to partner or child.
Dr Mijch told the Star while the procedure was successful it was not 100 percent guaranteed and did not mean HIV-positive men would be able to donate sperm anonymously in the future. I don’t think the test is the answer, she said.
The procedure is currently available only to patients of the IVF service at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Mel-bourne, although Dr Mijch hoped the test would be picked up by centres nationally.
The Royal Women’s Hospital has also become the first Victorian health care operator to offer Medicare-funded fertility assistance to lesbians and single women.
Under new hospital guidelines, Victorian lesbians will still be denied access to the sperm bank and will need to provide their own donor. But all other rules will now be the same as for heterosexual women in a relationship.
President of the Australian Lesbian Medical Association, Ruth McNair, said she was very happy the hospital had provided another option for people and she hoped other hospitals would follow its lead. She also hoped lesbians and single women would have equal access to Victoria’s sperm bank eventually.
In Victoria women can access IVF only if they are deemed medically infertile. In the Royal Women’s Hospital, a woman would be considered medically infertile if she had unsuccessfully tried self-insemination four times.