HART FAQs for Surrogates

HART-logo

Shortly after completing your consult you will receive an Email asking if you’re willing to consider being a part of the HART program. HART, which stands for HIV Assisted Reproductive Technologies, is a Growing Generations’ program designed to help men living with an HIV+ diagnosis become parents.

Our surrogates often tell us that they are flooded with questions and concerns when they’re first asked to consider this unique situation, and we’d like to help answer a few of the most commonly asked questions here.

How many babies have been born this way?

Since the program was first instituted in 2006, more than 60 babies have been born through HART.

Is it safe for me?

Absolutely. There have been zero reported cases of a surrogate or infant contracting the virus as a result of the surrogacy.

Won’t I catch it, too?

No. Only patients carrying an undetectable viral load for a minimum of six months and on a consistent medication regimen are able to enter into the program. This means that they are considered highly unlikely to pass the disease. Even so, the sperm is washed for any potential virus before the embryo is created, and you will also be placed on special medication as an added precaution.

Is it safe for the baby?

Yes. Because it is now possible to take a single sperm and insert it directly into the egg for fertilization, only a single sperm is needed. As a result, the viral load is so small that chances of an infection are incredibly rare.

Are the parents healthy enough to raise children?

Absolutely. Medical advancements have enabled doctors to manage this virus effectively and allow patients to live full and happy lives. In many cases these individuals have the same life expectancy as those living without the diagnosis.

What’s the difference between working with a HART client and a non-HART client?

Not much at all. With the exception of a few extra medications and some additional paperwork, the differences are really quite minute.

What about matching? Won’t I be limited?

Once you agree to participate in the HART program it is true that you will be considered for HART clients first. However, if you are unable to find a match within the client base of the HART program, you will then be considered for other clients in the non-HART database as well.

Why are you asking me?

The need for surrogates in our HART program is real. Despite the incredibly low risk involved, the stigma that follows an HIV+ diagnosis is still deeply ingrained in many people. As a result, many of our HART clients can expect to wait up to two or three times as long as our non-HART clients to be matched with a surrogate. It is our hope that, with proper education, more surrogates will be willing to sign up for the program and continue to help us grow all families.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.