Artificial Insemination Carried out with Sperm from HIV-Positive Man in Japan
In the first reported case of its kind, surgeons at Tottori University Hospital in Yonago, Japan, have implanted virus-free sperm from an HIV-positive man into his wife's womb, the Yomiuri Shimbun/Daily Yomiuri reports. The virus was removed from the sperm of a man in his 20s, who contracted HIV after receiving tainted blood products for hemophilia, and then used to artificially inseminate his wife. Researchers at other institutions have been developing in vitro fertilization techniques to help HIV-infected couples have children, but the Tottori group chose artificial insemination instead of in vitro fertilization because the man's sperm count was deemed "sufficiently high" and to "avoid side effects" from the ovulation-inducing drugs the woman would have needed to take for IVF. The risk of contracting HIV from the procedure is less than one in 4,000. The hospital ethics committee approved the application for the procedure last May on the conditions that the couple "fully understands that secondary viral infection is a possibility, that the wife's desire to be pregnant is thoroughly confirmed and that in the event the wife or baby contracts HIV, they will work with the specialists to deal with the disease" (Yomiuri Shimbun/Daily Yomiuri, 1/8).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.