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How sperm washing protects your baby from HIV

How sperm washing protects your baby from HIV

| 04 Oct 2023 | 22668 Views |

A little more than a decade back, at an India IVF clinic, a milestone was achieved: a baby, born free of the HIV virus, was delivered using IVF. The father, being HIV-positive, and the mother, not carrying the virus, had their dream of starting a family realized, thanks to a state-of-the-art procedure. A special sperm washing technique ensured that the HIV virus did not pass on to their child. It was a beacon of hope, promising a bright future for countless couples affected by HIV.

On this World AIDS Day, we reflect upon that child, that family, and the numerous couples who find solace in assisted reproduction. For those couples, battling HIV while nurturing the dream of parenthood, techniques like sperm washing become the ray of hope. Particularly, for serodiscordant heterosexual couples, where the man is HIV-positive and the woman isn’t, assisted reproduction stands as a guard, ensuring the mother and child remain unaffected by the virus.

What Exactly is Sperm Washing?

Sperm washing is anything but complicated. Within the protected confines of an andrology lab, this technique is meticulously carried out. Safety is paramount; samples containing the virus are maintained in isolation from the rest.

In essence, sperm washing detaches the sperm from the seminal plasma and other potentially HIV-positive cells. Once isolated, the sperm sample undergoes freezing and is subsequently assessed using molecular biology tools, confirming its virus-free status.

Before initiating any reproductive or ovarian stimulation treatments, it’s crucial to ensure that the sperm sample is devoid of any infection.

Post Sperm Washing Treatments

While artificial insemination post sperm washing is an option, the more prevalent route is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This IVF technique, undertaken after verifying the sperm’s HIV-free status, involves the direct injection of the sperm into the egg via a pipette.

HIV Today: A Snapshot from India

UNAIDS data reveals that as of 2013, approximately 35 million people globally were living with HIV; 9% of which were children under 15. Annually, over 2 million individuals contract the virus, leading to 1.5 million HIV-induced deaths in 2013. Yet, the expanding reach of antiretroviral therapy over the years has elevated the life quality of HIV patients and reduced the mortality rate.


In the fight against HIV, knowledge is power. With institutions like India IVF Fertility taking the lead, there’s renewed hope. Sperm washing is not just a procedure; it’s a promise — a commitment to a healthier, brighter future.



It's a procedure separating the sperm from seminal plasma and other cells potentially carrying HIV.

When done at recognized centers like India IVF Fertility, it's safe, effective, and free from cross-contamination risks.

While the procedure significantly minimizes risks, it's essential to combine it with other preventive measures.

Absolutely! Beyond HIV, it's also used to treat male infertility.

Success rates vary. At India IVF Fertility, outcomes are favorable owing to their cutting-edge tech and expertise.

While there's a consistent decline in new diagnoses, the battle is ongoing. [Specific Data to be inserted].

At India IVF Fertility, treatments are both world-class and pocket-friendly.

Yes, India IVF Fertility offers comprehensive online consultations.

From IVF, ICSI to advanced fertility treatments, they cater to diverse needs.

Their website,, is a treasure trove of resources.

About The Author
Dr. Richika Sahay

MBBS (Gold Medalist), DNB (Obst & Gyne), MNAMS, MRCOG (London-UK), Fellow IVF, Fellow MAS, Infertility (IVF) Specialist & Gynae Laparoscopic surgeon,[Ex AIIMS & Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi]. Read more

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