Healthy Twins From HIV-Infected Father

Healthy Twins From HIV-Infected FatherHealthy Twins From HIV-Infected Father

Healthy twins conceived by an HIV-infected father were born recently thanks to the newly launched ‘sperm washing’ project, said Zahra Talani, head of the Iranian Research Centre for HIV/AIDS.

The process has been carried out for many years in developed countries.

In 2013, the project was undertaken in Iran and came to fruition after 1.5 years of research; the twin babies conceived by the HIV-infected man were born with “a clean bill of health,” Khabaronline quoted Talani as saying.

The process involves separating individual sperms. Washed sperm is used in artificial insemination by using the intrauterine insemination (IUI) technique and in in-vitro fertilization (IVF). It may also be used to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by a HIV-positive male, in which case the washed sperm is injected into a female using an artificial insemination technique.

Sperm washing involves removing mucus and non-motile sperm to improve the chances of fertilization and extract disease-carrying material. It is a standard procedure in infertility treatment. The technique decreases the risk of HIV transmission by an HIV-positive male to zero.

Talani pointed to the high number of applicants seeking the procedure. So far from among 50 couples, 15 were selected for treatment. She also said the project needs more support from the Health Ministry to keep it going and extend it to all provinces. Insufficient funds and inadequate facilities at the research center are the main problems hindering national research development.

Pointing to the center’s plan to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, she said women taking HIV medicines should be under close care of physicians. If appropriate medical treatment is given for HIV diagnosed before or during pregnancy, it is possible to prevent infection in the baby. Thanks to advances in treatment and prenatal care, the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission is now less than 20%.