An anonymous story, penned by a self-described character actor residing in Tinseltown, is published in the Hollywood Reporter’s Jan. 23 issue. It reveals how one HIV positive actor was able to have a child, born free of the virus, through a process called “sperm washing.”
Overcoming what would have once been considered insurmountable odds to produce a child, with the help of the sperm washing process, the author describes his journey:
“I knew at a very young age that three things were supposed to happen for me,” the story’s writer says. “One was to live in Hollywood and be a successful actor. The second was to be happily married. The third was to be a dad.” He continues:
… I’ve enjoyed success mainly as a character actor. Once I let go of the “leading man” status in my head, the work became more lucrative and frequent. I found happiness with the man of my dreams. Then came the kid thing. This speed bump proved to be much more challenging, but not for the reasons you might think. The popularity of surrogacy has made it practically prehistoric thinking to wonder how two men or even a single man (gay or straight) could start a biological family. But this is the bump: One of us is HIV positive.
First, we approached a popular surrogacy agency. Even after revealing that we had no intention of using the “sperm washing” technique because the non-HIV-positive partner would be involved in the process, we were told that helping us to have a child “would be the same as giving a child to a woman with cancer.” Saddened, shocked and disappointed by this level of ignorance, I wanted to take action, but my partner, a lawyer, warned me that litigation would leave me feeling worse, no matter the outcome. We heard about an agency serving the gay community and moved on.
From the moment we arrived at Growing Generations, we felt welcomed. We were assured that there would be no problem for either of us to participate in the surrogacy process. We had done our research and found a lab that was working with parents who shared our status. We were lucky: We were set up with a surrogate who was educated and compassionate. She knew the steps we’d taken to secure healthy embryos, which also meant that she would be healthy during the pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. What she did was give birth to healthy twins!
“I am a working actor. I am a husband. I am a dad,” finished the anonymous author. “I am HIV positive. Three of my dreams came true.”
The Growing Generations website contains a mission statement which partially reads:
To value and serve individuals and couples all over the world who want to have and raise children, regardless of sexual orientation, marital status, or HIV status. We provide a path- way for donors, surrogates, professionals and staff to realize their calling to help create and nurture families. Lives Created Worlds Changed.