Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Guv signs sperm washing bill

State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) announced Tuesday, September 11 that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed her bill, SB443, to allow women to conceive safely with an HIV-positive partner through medical technology called “assisted reproduction.”

Reproductive technology has evolved to the point that it can now cleanse sperm of the human immunodeficiency virus but current law prevents would-be parents, where the father is HIV-positive, of taking advantage of these advances. In an attempt to lower the likelihood of HIV transmission during conception, Migden introduced SB 443 to allow couples to receive assisted reproduction under certain guidelines.

“All families deserve access to the tools that reproductive science has to offer,” Migden said in a statement. “In this case California law needs to catch up with technology because, whether inadvertent or not, it discriminates against HIV-positive men. My legislation will ensure equal reproductive rights for all women, regardless of their partners’ HIV status.”

The problem begins with a California law that prohibits transferring or inseminating bodily tissue from a donor who is HIV positive. This law – which was created to protect patients receiving organ, tissue and sperm donations – has the unintended consequence of barring HIV-positive men from impregnating their partners, even though advanced reproductive technology has minimized infection risk to HIV-negative partners and offspring. California and Delaware are the only states in the nation that bar the procedure, a technology that has been in use for 10 years.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of being able to offer my patients a safe method of conceiving,” said Dr. Deborah Cohan, who serves as medical director of the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center at UCSF and who wrote an op-ed in last week’s Bay Area Reporter in support of the bill. “With potent antiretroviral therapy now available, HIV-infected individuals live increasingly healthy and normal lives and many want to have families. With this important bill, will be able to offer them a safe way of building healthy families.”

— Cynthia Laird, September 12, 2007 @ 9:45 am PST
Filed under: News

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