American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

American Osteopathic Association Calls on FDA to Lift Ban on Sperm Donation by Sexually Active Gay Men

DOs approve policy supporting anonymous donations from men who have sex with men

CHICAGO—July 28, 2015—The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the ban on anonymous sperm donation by sexually active gay men, who are currently prohibited from making donations if they have had sex with other men in the previous five years. 

Current FDA policy allows heterosexual men who have had more than one sexual partner in a year to donate after a one year deferment period. That same policy prohibits a gay man in a monogamous relationship from donating unless he has been celibate for five years. 

Critics of the ban say it does little to protect patients and point to strict screening processes already in place at most clinics. Prospective donors undergo an initial blood test for infectious diseases with a repeat screening six month later. The donated sperm is frozen during the six month interval period.

The existing protocols were adopted by the FDA in 2005. The current ban harkens back to the 1980s, when AIDS and HIV were poorly understood, according to Draion Burch, DO, AOA spokesperson on LGBT issues.

“Fast-forward thirty years and we now know that HIV and AIDS impact people of all sexual orientations,” said Dr. Burch, a board-certified ob-gyn who has treated several insemination patients. “As an osteopathic physician, I view the five-year ban for gay men as a double standard that lacks scientific basis.”

The resolution, approved July 19 at the AOA annual business meeting, was submitted by the Student Osteopathic Medical Association. Nkeiruka Rachael Banda, an osteopathic medical student at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Yakima, Washington, previously worked at a sperm bank where many gay men were turned away. 

“To not allow willing and healthy gay males to help others create a family is discriminatory,” said Student Doctor Banda. “As future osteopathic physicians, we hope to influence health care policy by supporting the rights of all patients and ensuring fair care for all.”

The vote, by more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, continued the AOA’s long-standing commitment to health care equality for the LGBT community.

In 2013, the AOA called for the removal of the FDA’s ban on blood donation by men who have had sex with men.  Last year delegates approved policy supporting measures to end discriminatory health insurance coverage and improve access to care for same-sex households.

The AOA continues to encourage the more than 110,000 DOs and osteopathic medical students in the U.S. to actively partner with LGBT patients to improve the quality of care in their communities. 

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 110,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

About the AOA House of Delegates

The AOA’s House of Delegates, comprised of more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents and students from throughout the country, meets annually in July to set organizational policies and elect new officers.

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Media Contact:   

Nicole Grady  
(312) 202-8038
ngrady@osteopathic.org

 
 

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