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Obstet Gynecol. 2003 May;101(5 Pt 1):987-94.

Understanding the motivations, concerns, and desires of human immunodeficiency virus 1-serodiscordant couples wishing to have children through assisted reproduction.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.



To survey the attitudes of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-serodiscordant couples interested in assisted reproduction and better characterize their motivations for reproducing.


A prospectively designed questionnaire and open-ended interview of 50 consecutive HIV-serodiscordant couples interested in undergoing assisted reproduction to avoid transmission of virus were studied. Demographic characteristics and attitudes regarding beginning a family were obtained. By design, males were HIV seropositive (age, 38.0 +/- 5.4 years, range 26-51 years) and healthy. Women were HIV seronegative (age, 34.5 +/- 5.1 years, range 24-45 years). Most couples were married (44 of 50) and in long-term relationships (duration of relationship, 8.9 +/- 4.9 years, range 1-20 years).


Before presentation, nine of 50 couples had conceived and delivered a child (three of nine instances with knowledge of paternal HIV status). Previous timed intercourse occurred in 8% of couples (four of 50). Six individuals stated they would proceed with timed intercourse if no other alternatives existed. Forty-eight percent said they would prefer artificial insemination with donor sperm in lieu, if assisted reproduction failed or were unavailable. Forty-three percent of respondents would pursue "posthumous conception" if cryopreserved sperm or embryos were available in the event of the partner's death. Most couples discussed the possibility of single parenting (45 of 50; 90%) or the possibility for adoptive parenting (29 of 50; 58%). Couples were aware of risk, and 92% (46 of 50) understood that their child might contract HIV.


Human immunodeficiency virus-serodiscordant couples are actively seeking reproductive assistance and often consider or practice unsafe measures to achieve pregnancy. Reproductive issues and concerns unique to these couples need to be addressed before treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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