Life After HIV: Examination of HIV Serodiscordant Couples’ Desire to Conceive Through Assisted Reproduction
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- Gosselin, J.T. & Sauer, M.V. AIDS Behav (2011) 15: 469. doi:10.1007/s10461-010-9830-9
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The current study addresses fertility desires and considerations among 143 HIV serodiscordant, opposite-sex couples (in which only the male partner is HIV positive) in the Northeastern U.S. Couples responded to questionnaires during their initial consultation for assisted reproduction, and data were collected over 7 years and analyzed retrospectively. Results indicated that a majority of the male participants had HIV when they met their partner, and a majority also disclosed their HIV status upon meeting. Most couples reported that they had previously discussed or considered a host of fertility-related issues, including the potential risk of HIV infection to the mother and the fetus during the process of fertility treatment. The majority of couples had also discussed the possibility that the male partner could die prematurely due to HIV/AIDS and had considered making arrangements for third-party parenting in the event of the male partner’s death. If their fertility treatment were to be successful in the future, most couples desired additional children, and most believed that their future child should be told of the male partner’s HIV status. Predictors of the desire for additional children after successful fertility treatment included: younger age, shorter relationship duration, being childless currently, and beginning their relationship after the male partner had already been diagnosed as HIV positive. Future research on fertility desires should include perspectives of HIV positive men on fatherhood, as well as concerns and issues specific to HIV serodiscordant couples.