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Healthy Babies For HIV+ Dads

Ten-month-old Ashley Madieros is already a bit of a rebel. And why not? She bucked the prevailing medical wisdom that she couldn't and perhaps shouldn't have been conceived, CBS News Correspondent John Roberts reports.

"Ashley was born with a daddy who has hemophilia and also has HIV," said Ashley's mother, Carol Madieros.

Larry Madieros was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 - he'd contracted it from tainted blood products. He came to grips with the fact he'd have to fight the virus for the rest of his life, but it was difficult to accept that he might never be able to father a healthy child.

"I went to a friend's house and she was having a baby shower and she was having triplets, and all I wanted was one baby," Carol Madieros said. "But when I came home, thank God Larry was here, because I just bawled my eyes out."

So they sought out a revolutionary new procedure that changed their future. It is a technique in which semen is filtered through special liquids to remove the virus.

Technicians then take a single sperm and inject it directly into the egg. Larry and Carol Madieros were so confident after Ashley and Carol remained HIV-free that they went through it a second time and Carol is now pregnant again.

While the new AIDS drugs can reduce the virus to undetectable levels in people with HIV, it's still far too risky to conceive a child through unprotected sex.

But this new procedure isn't perfect either. Even with all the technology, all of the safeguards, there still is a small risk that that mother and child can become infected.

"My greatest fear is that it's not as safe as we think it is," said Dr. Mark Sauer of New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

Despite that risk, fertility specialist Sauer is willing to help couples conceive - pointing to how medicine has already changed the lives of people with HIV.

"They want a family and they are trying to get on with their lives in every other way and it just didn't seem right to deny them the possibility of uh, hopefully, safely, reproducing, having a child," Sauer said.

Larry and Carol went into this knowing that Larry may lose his battle with HIV, leaving Carol alone with two children. But it was a chance they were willing to take to be a family.

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