The gift of life is something all people can share in, whether donating sex cells or having a child themselves. But the FDA is putting rules into effect that suggest that gay men be turned down as anonymous sperm donors. The policy states than any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from donating anonymously.
These new rules are based on blatant bigotry. Statistics show a rising rate of HIV being transmitted heterosexually, but still homosexual men are targeted as transmitters. Sperm can be effectively examined to assure its safety by initially testing the donor, freezing the sperm for a six-month quarantine, and testing again afterwards for signs of HIV or other infectious diseases, but this is not a commonly used practice. A new screening process could also be developed that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior of any would-be donor, gay or straight. Prospective donors, regardless of sexual orientation, would be rejected if they had engaged in unprotected sex in the previous 12 months with an HIV-positive person, an illegal drug user, or “an individual of unknown HIV status outside of a monogamous relationship.”
Rather than adopt these processes, the FDA suggests stereotyping and excluding homosexual men. These rules would allow a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive prostitute to donate a year later, but homosexual men would have to be celibate for five years in order to donate. When alternatives are available, it seems ridiculous that these rules should be standardized. Tell the FDA to adopt a new screening process and enforce HIV testing rather than encourage bigotry.
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