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Fertility victory for people with HIV

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Today, National AIDS Trust is celebrating the culmination of years of campaigning for equal fertility rights for all people living with HIV, as the Department for Health and Social Care at last confirms changes to a law which prevented the donation of sperm or eggs as part of fertility treatment unless in a heterosexual relationship.

This amendment at last removes the unjust, homophobic and unscientific barrier that has for too long prevented LGBT+ people who are living with HIV from becoming parents through fertility treatment.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive Officer of National AIDS Trust, said:

“As an HIV rights organisation, we have worked hard, over many years, to bring about this change, and are delighted that this discriminatory law will be coming to an end. Changing this needless and unfair obstacle is a huge win for both HIV and LGBT+ rights. We share this victory with our colleagues at the British HIV Association (BHIVA), parliamentarians who have spoken out on this injustice, our supporters and, importantly, every person living with HIV who shared their own stories to raise awareness of this issue.

“We are absolutely thrilled at the prospect of the many families that can now be formed, and lives that will be brought into being, as a result of this historic change. We are now looking ahead to Parliament approving this secondary legislation, and celebrating the huge difference it will bring to lives and choices of LGBT+ people living with HIV.

Noel Watson-Doig, who has campaigned alongside National AIDS Trust to change this law, added:

“Having wanted to start a family myself, it came as a complete shock to me when I found out that gay people living with HIV were not able to become parents through fertility treatment. Therefore, I am absolutely thrilled with the announcement that this law will now be amended, at long last. This is hugely important change that will allow people living with HIV to start the families that they want, while making a positive step toward addressing the continued marginalisation of people of living with HIV.”

Professor Yvonne Gilleece, Chair of the British HIV Association, said: 

“This update to the law opens up the possibility of parenthood to people living with HIV previously excluded from sperm or egg donation, not because of scientific fact but because of lingering misinformation and prejudice.  The transformative impact of today’s HIV treatment means that the virus is undetectable in the blood, which means that eggs and sperm can be safely donated to family, friends and known recipients.  We are delighted that this unnecessary barrier to starting a family has finally been overcome."

The Government anticipates that clinics will be able to start offering fertility treatment as early as three months after the amendment is approved, to people living with HIV on effective treatment who have an undetectable viral load.