HIV-positive woman wants to become a mom

August 10, 2020

Jane Brown*, 21, contracted HIV last year. She says that she has always wanted to have children, and now, her reality is posing a challenge. The St Catherine resident says she would prefer to adopt a child rather than have a baby and risk its life.

"I want to adopt because me wouldn't want my baby fi go through none of that. Having my own child is something I always anticipated ... . I have even been talking to my parents about this from I was younger. It's heartbreaking that this happened to me because when I got HIV, I was actually trying for a child ... . I didn't know my partner had HIV at all," Brown told THE STAR.

She says that it has always been her plan to have her children early to avoid misfortunes that befell her mother.

"My mother lost two children because she waited until she was much older. So she had many complications, and she had to end up removing her womb. I didn't want to end up in that situation. Plus, I believe it is better to have children early when I'm active and can run behind them and up and down with them as they grow," she said.

Transmitted during pregnancy

Although HIV can be transmitted during pregnancy and at the time of delivery, Jamaica is on the cusp of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of the illness.

Dr Lucien Jones, a medical doctor, says that the risk of an HIV-positive mother passing the illness to her child can be significantly minimised through proper care.

"If she is someone who is well controlled on her medication and her viral load is low, then the chances of her passing on the virus to her child are very small. So the challenge would be finding a partner who would be willing to have sex with her without a condom. There is also in vitro fertilisation, which is another route," Jones said. Brown, however, does not want to risk passing the illness on to her child.

"It may be too early but I plan to adopt. Nuff women in the world are mothers, and they never pushed out a baby before, so I will just have to accept that. But just as if I was going to carry my baby, I would want to do it early. I want to adopt as soon as possible," she said.

But under adoption rules in Jamaica, Brown may have to wait four more years before she is eligible as persons have to be at least 25 years old to adopt a child. "If they are related to the child being adopted, they can be under 25 years old but over 18 years. However, applicant would be approved based on age of child being adopted, medical conditions of applicant, and family support available for child being adopted," the adoption board said.

*name changed

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