Press Room

May 05, 2005

Category: Assisted Reproduction, HIV & AIDS

FDA Position on Sperm Donation Disregards Science, Common Sense

'It's unsafe and unfair to allow a straight man who regularly has unprotected sex with multiple partners to donate sperm, but not a gay man who practices safe sex within a monogamous relationship,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign reiterated its criticism of regulations regarding sperm donation that the Food and Drug Administration will put into effect on May 25, 2005. The regulations, when considered along with an FDA draft guidance document on donor eligibility, could be interpreted to bar men who have had sex with men in the last five years from making non-directed sperm donations. Policies are already in place at fertility clinics to ensure that donated sperm is safe, regardless of the donor's sexual orientation.

"It's unsafe and unfair to allow a straight man who regularly has unprotected sex with multiple partners to donate sperm, but not a gay man who practices safe sex within a monogamous relationship," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "These regulations fly in the face of sound science and common sense."

HRC worked with coalition partners - Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders - to submit comments to the proposed regulation in 1999 and echoed the comments again in 2003. In 2004, when the FDA issued its final regulations along with the draft guidance document, the coalition partners submitted another round of comments. Some of the suggestions were accepted into FDA policy, including provisions that:

ᄡallow men who have sex with men to make directed sperm donations to a recipient without requiring freezing of the sperm, which has several disadvantages

ᄡallow men who have sex with men to make directed sperm donations without a physician's required consent and

ᄡterm donors "eligible" and "ineligible" rather than "suitable" and "unsuitable."

"The agency's thinking, as expressed in the draft guidance document accompanying the regulations, perpetuates dangerous myths and does not serve to protect the public's health. The FDA should have screening criteria that focus on a potential donor's high-risk activities, not his sexual orientation. We will continue to work with our coalition partners to fight for policy that is based on science, not stereotypes," said Solmonese.

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