HIV doesn’t prevent you from becoming a mother. You can have children if and when you are ready.
It’s important to know that if you are on effective treatment, you can live a long and healthy life without passing the virus to partners* or children. By having an ‘undetectable’ viral load – which means the amount of virus in your blood is so low that it is considered ‘undetectable’ – you can conceive naturally without passing the virus on during sex*. If your HIV viral load is detectable or you are gay, there are other options to become a mother.
*While effective viral suppression with antiretroviral therapy has been proven to substantially reduce the risk of sexual transmission, a residual risk cannot be excluded. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that there is effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV in individuals with an undetectable viral load.
To help you plan for your next appointment and helpful questions to ask, go to What To Ask for tips and downloadable questions.
Thanks to advances in HIV treatments, you can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, with the support of your healthcare team.
In fact, the advice available for women living with HIV is generally the same as for women who are HIV-negative. There are only a few extra steps to be aware of to help reduce the risk of transferring HIV to your partner and child. For more information see How can I prepare?
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there are things you can do to protect your health and the health of your unborn child:
Yes, your HIV status does not prevent you from getting pregnant. You may conceive naturally and significantly reduce the risk of passing on HIV to your partner, if you follow your HIV treatment as advised by your healthcare team, have had an undetectable HIV viral load for more than six months, and neither you or your partner have any sexually transmitted infections*.
Your partner may also be offered HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a preventative step when you are trying to conceive.
If you become pregnant unexpectedly, you should consult your healthcare team straight away. They can then advise you on the steps you can take to ensure you and your baby stay healthy throughout the pregnancy.
*If you are living with HIV and considering becoming a mother, you should speak to your doctor.
Your options for giving birth are dependent on your HIV viral load during pregnancy and your personal circumstances. You should talk to your healthcare team about your options and delivery preferences, and they can also advise on other considerations for the birth.
As a transgender woman, you have choices when deciding to have children:
If none of these options are right for you, you can also look into adoption or fostering a child.
If you are an HIV positive transgender woman looking to start a family, you can significantly reduce the risk of passing HIV onto your partner if you follow your HIV treatment as advised by your healthcare team, have had an undetectable HIV viral load for more than six months, and neither you nor your partner have any sexually transmitted infections*.
*If you are living with HIV and considering starting a family, you should speak to your doctor.
Having a child is a rewarding and exciting experience, but there can be challenges along the way. For all mums, receiving support from your partner, family, friends and healthcare team can make all the difference during difficult times.
Talking to other mums living with HIV can also be helpful, as they can provide practical advice and talk about their own experiences of starting a family. Watch Angelina’s story of motherhood and hear her top tips on how to manage parenthood.
You can also ask your healthcare team for information about local support groups.
To find out what else you can do to take care of your sexual health as a cis- or transwoman and live well with HIV, click on the boxes below: