Statistical data about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents raising children tells a complex story about the modern American family. An analysis of census and survey data conducted by the Williams Institute estimated that about 37% of LGBT-identified individuals were the parents to children at some point in their lives.
Less than 10 percent of the surveyed male couples reported that they were raising biological children of their own, compared to 24 percent of female couples. Unsurprisingly, the study does not explicitly mention HIV positive men, an even smaller portion of gay population seeking to have biological children of their own.
For decades the path to biological parenthood for men living with HIV has been complicated given the few, costly medical innovations in the perinatal field available to them. According to an unnamed actor writing for The Hollywood Reporter, however, he and his sero-discordant partner have found success with a technique known as sperm washing.
“We had done our research and found a lab that was working with parents who shared our status,” he writes. “We were lucky: We were set up with a surrogate who was educated and compassionate.”
Sperm washing is a controversial technique the involves the separation, or “washing” of viable sperm cells of the seminal fluid that might carry the HIV virus. Currently the Centers for Disease Control still advise most doctors against assisting HIV positive men attempting to conceive through the use of washed sperm. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, however, reversed its position in 2002, twelve years after an HIV positive man accidentally infected his wife via sperm washing. There are today a handful of clinics scattered throughout the country willing to attempt the method.