Iowa Teen’s Eye Donation Rejected Because He Was Gay

(CNN) – As a mother deals with the death of her son, she was dealt another piece of devastating news after being told her son’s eye donation was rejected, because he was a homosexual.

There has been an outpouring of support and debate on if the rules for organ and blood donation should be adjusted.

“I was very happy to hear that a 14-year-old boy got his heart. He would have really liked that,” said the late 16-year-old’s mother, Sheryl Moore.

According to Moore, her son’s liver, kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs have been donated to recipients in need but her son’s eyes were rejected, leaving Moore feeling incomplete.

“My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn’t understand why my 16-year-old son’s eye couldn’t be donated just because he was gay,” she said.

Moore’s 16-year-old son took his own life after years of bullying.

With the concerns during the AIDS epidemic, several regulations were put in place by the Food and Drug Administration to deal with the issue. Some of those regulations cause some donors to be illegible to donate some tissue since they possibly fall under the “risk factor” guidelines.

“They asked me if my son was sexually active, and my response was something to the effect of ‘No.’ He’d never had a boyfriend. I’d never known of him going out on a date, but then I was like, ‘I don’t know. He’s 16 years old,’” Moore said.

Given that information, it was unclear to the donor agency if the teen had been sexually active in the past five years, leading them to rule his tissue and eyes ineligible for donation.

According to the Virginia Blood Services website, “any man who has had sexual contact with another man, even once, since 1977,” is ineligible from donating blood.

Moore called the regulations “archaic,” saying that “and it is just silly that people wouldn’t get the life-saving assistance they need because of regulations that are 30 years old,” Moore said.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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