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At Circle, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. We're proud to support and help HIV+ intended parents achieve their dream of parenthood through surrogacy safely and securely.
The Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) has allowed hundreds of HIV+ men to build their families through surrogacy. Circle Surrogacy is proud to have assisted many couples and individuals through this program since 2009.
SPAR is offered in conjunction with the Bedford Research Foundation Clinical Laboratory, which has helped bring over 300 babies into the world safely through the program with no transmission of the virus. Dr. Ann Kiessling's innovating program combines semen testing and sperm washing for safe fertility procedures.
Living with HIV doesn't prevent you from having a child safely through surrogacy. It's possible to have a baby as an HIV+ man through the SPAR program and surrogacy through Circle Surrogacy.
The medical process involves the semen from the Intended Parent being collected and screened. Any samples containing the HIV virus or any other significant pathogen are discarded. It’s important to note, on average only 15% of semen samples from an infected male on anti-retroviral therapy actually carry the HIV virus. The healthy sperm is “washed” for added protection; washed sperm is free of semen. The specimen is then frozen for transportation and preservation at a participating clinic where the IVF process takes place.
The 4 steps in the SPAR process are:
The year the SPAR program was established.
The number of surrogates and babies that have contracted HIV through the SPAR program.
Current baby count of babies born via the SPAR program (as of January 2018).
Average percent of semen specimens that test PCR-positive from men on anti-retroviral therapy
As you consider the SPAR program, you may have questions along the way. Here are some common questions from parents and surrogates about SPAR.
To be in the SPAR program with Dr. Kiessling, intended parents must be treating their HIV with medication. Many people respond well to treatment. Oftentimes, the virus becomes undetectable. Great strides have been made in the treatment of HIV, and for many HIV+ people, it is now a manageable chronic illness.
No. While the samples are collected and handled at the Bedford Labs in Massachusetts, they are then shipped to the Intended Parents’ clinic.
Once you’ve applied and have been accepted into our surrogate program, you will have the opportunity to explore the SPAR program. During the matching process, you can discuss this program more with a member of our matching team. Surrogates who are involved in the program are asked to inform their primary support person, as a surrogate’s primary support person must also be supportive of the decision. If at any point a surrogate or her support person has medical questions, we can refer them to a medical professional to discuss further. After a surrogate is matched with her intended parents, she will be connected to Dr. Kiessling for a consultation as well.