A study in this week's British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found that infertility clinics are 'biased' against patients with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
All 75 clinics that provide assisted conception services across the UK were questioned about their policies regarding treatment of HIV positive patients. Fifty-seven of the clinics surveyed responded to the questionnaire (a copy of which can be seen in the BMJ, see below) and, of these, 72 per cent (41 clinics) treated HIV positive patients as a matter of policy, but most of these had not done so within the last year. It was also found that those who had seen patients with HIV in the last year were more likely to offer treatment where the male partner in a relationship was affected by HIV. This was not true if it was the female partner, or both partners that were affected.
The authors conclude that receiving fertility treatment when HIV is a factor is a lottery in the UK. Although the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 specifies that the welfare of the child must be taken into account when assessing whether someone is eligible for infertility, and this may result in people with various diseases being refused treatment, there are no established guidelines operating universally for HIV patients.