SPAR employs extremely stringent safety standards; samples will only be submitted for "sperm washing" and cryopreservation that have first been screened for HIV virus particles and infected cells by specialized molecular biology tests. Only samples that have been determined to have an undetectable HIV viral burden will be submitted for infertility procedures.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), treat many disorders of the female, but until recent years, treatment options for male factor infertility were limited, and donor sperm was routinely recommended to achieve a pregnancy. Advances in ART, however, have created new possibilities for men with male factor infertility, including those whose sperm counts have been decreased by cancer treatment and other diseases, and men with incurable, sexually transmissible virus diseases.
Infectious diseases transmissible by semen for which there is no cure include:
The goal of SPAR was to provide semen testing by experts that would ensure improved safety of sperm that could then be shipped to infertility clinics near the couple's home. In this way, couples could be cared for in the same manner as other couples in their community. Fortunately, a few clinics were willing to help with this effort, and by 2002, seven collaborating clinics around the country were caring for couples living with HIV disease.
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