Press Room

May 20, 2004

Category: Assisted Reproduction, HIV & AIDS

HRC Criticizes Anti-Gay FDA Regulations

'There is absolutely no science-based reason for this ruling,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign criticized regulations announced May 20 by the Food and Drug Administration blocking men who have had sex with men in the last five years from making non-direct sperm donations. Policies are already in place to ensure that donated sperm is safe, regardless of the donor's sexual orientation.

"There is absolutely no science-based reason for this ruling," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "The FDA is saying that a gay man who has safe sex and a long-term partner is unacceptable, but a heterosexual man who never practices safe sex is fine. That's not only wrong, it's dangerous. HIV affects every community in America and the FDA should be making people aware of that, not promoting myths."

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 five-year rule in 1999. We joined our allies in echoing those comments at the end of 2003 when we heard the FDA was moving toward publishing a final rule earlier in 2004.

However, some of the suggestions made by HRC and coalition partners were accepted in the final regulations, including changes to FDA proposed regulations that:

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

ᄡallow men who have sex with men to directly donate to a recipient without a physician's required consent

ᄡand term donors "eligible" and "ineligible" rather than "suitable" and "unsuitable."

"While they did accept some of our proposed changes, the FDA's five-year requirement is reprehensible," added Jacques. "We will continue to work in a coalition to put an end to these backward regulations."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.