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Gay man not allowed to donate blood, proves he is safe by donating kidney

  • Barton Lynch says new rules on donating blood is outdated
  • He was barred by FDA restrictions from donating
  • Decides to donate a kidney to prove he is safe and healthy

Virginia native Barton Lynch, a gay man who has been banned by FDA from donating blood because he gets involved sexually with other men, donated a kidney to prove a point.

The 24-year old has been donating blood ever since his father got cancer, but was banned from doing so ever since he started having sex with other men.

He was told that he could only donate again if he abstained from sexual activity for at least a year.

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This rule comes from a risk that says HIV can be transmitted in the blood of men who are involved in sexual activity with other men. Many criticized this policy saying that this is not accurate.

Lynch said that this policy is not applicable in today’s society because more studies have been done that say otherwise.

“This frustrates me to no end because I think it’s based on outdated science and outdated scares. Other countries have changed their collection procedures and they’re not showing adverse effects … The technology for the detection of HIV has advanced a lot since the ’80s.”

He still wanted to contribute to people that are in need so he went to Georgetown University Hospital. The hospital labeled him as ‘able to donate a kidney’ after doing multiple examinations on him.

Three days later he successfully donated a kidney to an anonymous individual.

“I don’t know anything about the other person. I sent them a letter, and they can either read it or not, and reply or not. As far as I know, they have not done anything. But I did hear that it was a successful surgery.”

Lynch sent the US Department of Health and Human Services a letter begging them to change the policy on donating blood since it is outdated.

“When we are constantly in need for blood, as a society, and you’re excluding an entire category of people for a reason that’s not based in science, it’s crazy to me. The questionnaire you fill out when you give blood doesn’t cover risky behavior, except for the question, ‘Have you had sex with another man? It doesn’t ask if you’ve had a new partner in the last year, if you’ve had 50 new partners in the last year. That behavior is obviously riskier than someone in a monogamous, same-sex relationship, so if anything, the blood supply is more dangerous in our current rules than it would be if we moved to a risk-based assessment.”

Lynch is still banned from donating blood but is eligible on the bone marrow registry.

Written by Jo-Est Tan

Emergency medical technician (EMT)
Thesis Writer
Ateneo de Zamboanga University

Contact me at:
[email protected]

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