The Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) is an international program designed to protect wives, surrogates and babies from becoming infected during fertility procedures that use sperm from men who wish to have children of their own, but are living with a sexually transmitted disease, such as HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
The program is based on research findings that some, but not all, of the semen specimens produced by men infected with HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) will test positive for the infectious agent. SPAR scientists, headed up by Dr. Ann Kiessling, are pioneers in assisted reproductive technologies, and have been developing reliable semen testing procedures for 25 years. The laboratory methods are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, certified by the U.S. government (CLIA) and registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (References)
Sperm from specimens that test negative for infectious agents, such as HIV, are safer to use in fertility procedures than sperm recovered by “sperm washing” from untested specimens.
The process begins with a personal, highly confidential consult with Dr. Kiessling and SPAR staff who will help identify reliable fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies according to individual client needs. SPAR is an independent testing and counseling resource with no financial ties to any fertility clinics or surrogacy agencies. The goal of SPAR is to provide safe, confidential fertility procedures for wives, surrogates and babies.
The SPAR facility is located 13 miles (22 kilometers) from Boston in a confidential, free-standing building. Convenient housing and transportation options will be provided when the consultation appointment is made. Certified interpreters for all languages will be provided as needed to help make consultation travel arrangements, and during the consultation and testing process.