WELLINGTON: The world's first HIV-positive sperm bank opened in New Zealand on Wednesday (Nov 27), with the aim of reducing the stigma and discrimination felt by those living with the virus.
The clinic, called Sperm Positive, currently has three male donors who have a “consistently undetectable viral load”, reported Radio New Zealand.
This means that the amount of virus in their blood is so low that they cannot infect others.
The sperm bank is initiated by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Positive Women and Body Positive.
In a Facebook post about the sperm bank, New Zealand AIDS Foundation had this message: "They can give you their eyes, their hair, their cheeky laugh. But they can’t give you HIV."
One of the donors is 45-year-old Damien Rule-Neal, who discovered he was HIV-positive 20 years ago.
"I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," Rule-Neal told the New Zealand Herald.
The virus was confirmed undetected shortly after he started treatment.
On its website, Sperm Positive said it wants to raise awareness that fertility services are available to those living with HIV.
Citing a 2018 study conducted in New Zealand, Sperm Positive said that many locals were “incredibly uneducated” about HIV transmission risk.
Sperm Positive said that it will not undertake any medical or fertility-related activities.
Instead, if people are interested in exploring the option of receiving a sperm donation, the clinic will help to match them with a donor.
Once a donor agrees to the match, Sperm Positive will help them reach out to local fertility clinics.