Gay Teen’s Organ Donation Rejected
[su_right_ad]Alexander Betts attempted suicide in July, 2013, and died soon after. He wanted to be an organ donor. While is heart went to a 14-year-old, his eyes were rejected.
A Food and Drug Administration’s guidance for donor eligibility says men who have had sex with men in the past five years “should” be ruled as “ineligible” for donating certain tissues, labeling their behavior a “risk factor.”
In a 2013 photograph Sheryl Moore plans to fight bullying, which she says contributed to the suicide of her son Alexander Betts Jr. Moore has not left her late son’s side as his body remains on life support at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines until his organs can be gifted out.
“My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn’t understand why my 16-year-old son’s eyes couldn’t be donated just because he was gay,” [his mother Sheryl] Moore said, according to KCCI…
The FDA’s guidance reflects its ban on blood from men who have sex with men. That policy is a by-product of the AIDS crisis that ripped through the gay men’s community decades ago.Critics have long called the policy discriminatory, but the FDA says it’s necessary: “FDA’s deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor’s sexual orientation.”
The American Medical Association ended the ban last year. But there isn’t an across-the-board ban.
In Betts’s case, his liver, lungs, kidneys and heart all found recipients. Unlike blood, as long as a recipient gives consent to any associated potential risks (such as HIV transmission) after counseling, certain organs can be donated. But because his mother could not confirm to the donor network that her son hadn’t been sexually active in the five years before his death, Betts’s eyes were rejected.
“This is archaic,” Moore told KCCI. “And it is just silly that people wouldn’t get the life-saving assistance they need because of regulations that are 30 years old.”