What does the procedure involve?

Published: 07 April 2009

The man's ejaculate is collected and the sperm are separated from the seminal fluid using a centrifuge. The sperm are then 'washed' several times to remove the residual fluid. The efficacy of the wash is then verified with a post-wash HIV RNA assay before the sperm are used in treatment.

The remaining sperm are placed in a substitute fluid. This fluid is then:

  • Inseminated into the woman. This is done when she is ovulating and most likely to become pregnant (this process is called intrauterine insemination or IUI).
  • Used in an in vitro fertilisation process (IVF). This technique is used if the female partner has fertility problems.
  • Injected directly into the ovum (egg) by intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This is done when there is a problem with the sperm.

British HIV Association (BHIVA)/Children's HIV Association (CHIVA) guidelines recommend that, to minimise the risks of multiple pregnancy and ovarian hyperstimulation, couples should have natural cycle insemination unless fertility factors are identified, when fertility drugs for superovulation or IVF/ICSI should be considered.

The woman will need to have regular HIV tests throughout the programme. It is essential that the couple does not have unprotected sex for three to six months before starting the process, or for its duration. They must also abstain from any other activities that could put them at risk of HIV or other blood-borne infections.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.