FDA Maintains Discriminatory Rules on Donated Tissue for Gay and Bisexual Men

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05/27/2024

The federal government in 2020 and 2023 changed who it said could safely donate organs and blood, reducing the restrictions on men who have had sex with another man. But the FDA’s restrictions on donated tissue, a catchall term encompassing everything from a person’s eyes to their skin and ligaments, remain in place. Advocates, lawmakers, and groups focused on removing barriers to cornea donations, in particular, said they are frustrated the FDA hasn’t heeded their calls. They want to align the guidelines for tissue donated by gay and bisexual men with those that apply to the rest of the human body. Such groups have been asking the FDA for years to reduce the deferral period from five years to 90 days, meaning a man who has had sex with another man would be able to donate tissue as long as such sex didn’t occur within three months of his death.

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