Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Friday, May 06, 2005

Excessive political correctness

or reasonable objection to an unreasonable policy:
To the dismay of gay-rights activists, the Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.

The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.

Of course as screening procedures become more complex, they are implemented less accurately. In addition, I suspect that as more questions about sexual history are asked the number of willing donors decreases (this may be more important for blood than sperm).

It is unfortunate that certain groups may be excluded, but the rules should be based on preventing disease transmission not political correctness. It should be noted that other groups, such as those who are adopted are also excluded from sperm donation.

For sperm donation, most donors are checked initially, then the sperm frozen until the donor tests negative again at 6 months, making the risks extremely low.

More infor on being a sperm donor is here. When I was an undergrad, sperm donation was often talked about, but no one I knew owned up to actually donating. I personally would be troubled by having kids out there I wasn't involved in.

I see that my time as a potential donor is almost up as I head to 40. It is probably just as well, since it would just cause problmes like this:
Some sperm donors may be in such high demand that it may be difficult to purchase them from the donor list. We may always be "out" because the frozen semen to be released has been promised to those on our waiting list. You may want to consider being placed on our Waiting List if the donor you selected always seems to be "out".

Kidding aside, this raises the issue of how safe having multiple kids from the same anonymous donor is. They would be at significantly increased risk of genetic disease if they happened to meet and have kids, not to mention the whole incest thing. I guess that is one of the benefits of using someone you know.


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