Artificial insemination

Published: 01 October 2011
  • There were some cases of infection in the early 1980s, before safeguards were introduced.

A number of cases of HIV infection through donor insemination were reported before the introduction of the HIV antibody test and of sperm washing techniques.

The most detailed study of the risks involved in donor insemination comes from Los Angeles, where public health officials investigated a number of cases in which women with no known risks developed AIDS or tested HIV-positive. They found that some of these women had undergone artificial insemination prior to 1986, and traced back the semen to find out whether it had come from donors who subsequently developed AIDS. Seven women were identified as HIV-positive in the course of this investigation; all had received artificial insemination before 1986.1

However, the study also found that the vast majority of women who received semen from HIV-positive donors did not seroconvert. In one case, 29 out of 30 recipients of semen from one HIV-positive donor tested HIV-negative on follow-up, and it was calculated that the risk of infection per insemination exposure in this study was 0.50%.

‘Sperm washing’ is an effective method of reducing the risk of partner insemination from a known HIV-positive partner.

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References

  1. Araneta MRG HIV transmission through donor artificial insemination. JAMA 273(11): 854-858, 1995
This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.