Quick Start Guide

What to Expect

The Goal of SPAR is to help couples achieve a pregnancy without transmitting the father’s infection to the mother or the child.

The Premise is that using sperm from semen specimens with no detectable virus decreases, perhaps eliminates, the risk of transmitting infection.

SPAR Has Essentially Four Stages

    1. Evaluation of male and female partners
      The process begins with an evaluation of the HIV-infected male with respect to duration of disease, current health status, confounding infections, such as Hepatitis virus or prostatitis, and current antiviral therapy.  During a personal, highly confidential conference with Dr. Kiessling, she will explain the entire process, the potential pitfalls, and help locate collaborating infertility clinics. Be sure to thoroughly read the SPAR Info Pack before scheduling a consultation,  and return the Consult Request form.The SPAR facility is located 13 miles (22 kilometers) from Boston in a confidential, free-standing building.  Convenient housing and transportation options will be provided when the consultation appointment is made.  Certified interpreters for all languages will be provided as needed to help make consultation travel arrangements, and during the consultation and testing process.
    2. Collection of two HIV Undetectable Specimens
      The semen viral burden is determined by a highly sensitive PCR assay for HIV that detects both free virus particles (HIV RNA) in seminal plasma and virus infected cells (HIV proviral DNA). Semen specimens may be collected in the privacy of a client’s home and shipped overnight to the laboratory for testing (U.S. only).
    3. Semen Specimens are tested for HIV, the sperm is “washed” and cryopreserved
      Cryopreserved sperm from specimens with an undetectable viral burden can be shipped to the collaborating clinic for use in IVF or Oligospermia cup procedures. Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI) is NOT an approved SPAR procedure. The clinic can either retain the liquid nitrogen dry shipper for the duration of the procedure and return unused sperm, or transfer the tested specimens to the clinic’s nitrogen freezers.
    4. Treatment at a Collaborating Infertility Clinic
      More than two dozen infertility centers worldwide collaborate with the Bedford Foundation with infertility procedures that meet the needs of the couple. The Bedford clinical lab will only send cryopreserved sperm from semen specimens with an undetectable viral burden. Most collaborating clinics offer IVF as the infertility treatment of choice, but an increasing number also offer insemination via oligospermia cup.