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Active Homosexuals and IV Drug Users Accepted by Transplant Groups for Organ Donation Despite "High Risk"

OTTAWA, January 11, 2008 ( - Earlier this week, the federal government came under attack after the CBC reported that active homosexual men are barred from being organ donors because of the high risk of disease associated with homosexual activity. The Globe and Mail reported yesterday, however, that transplant groups denied that active homosexual men are barred from donating organs.

"Several transplant organisations" told the Globe that the rules that came into effect in December only "formalize" existing procedures that screen organs for disease.

Mark Meloche, head of the surgery section at the British Columbia Transplant Society said, "We will still consider all organs and all donors. We still consider the use of them, depending on the circumstances. It's all part of a risk assessment."

Male donors who have had sexual contact with another man in the last five years, as well as those who have been in prison recently or intravenous drug users are considered high risk groups for serious diseases under the rules. These rules, the Globe says, do not outright ban doctors from receiving organs from members of these high risk groups.

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