A 24-year-old Virginian man donated a kidney to protest not being eligible to donate blood.
In May, Crystal City resident Barton Lynch checked into MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to donate one of his kidneys.
Lynch recently got into a relationship with a man, making him ineligible to donate blood.
This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America has a one year ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.
‘I had been donating blood my whole life, and it was good way for me to give back,’ he told the Washingtonian. ‘Not that long ago, I started dating guys, which now eliminates me from being able to donate blood.’
Lynch then added: ‘So I needed to find a way to give back that wasn’t giving blood. I know the need is there for kidney donations, so it seemed like a no-brainer — how could I not?’
So he donated his kidney, not knowing who the recipient was going to be.
He revealed he sent the mystery recipient a letter but has not heard back.
‘But I did hear that it was a successful surgery,’ he said.
Gay and bi blood donation ban
Lynch believes the FDA should scrap the ‘crazy’ blood donation ban for gay and bisexual men.
‘When we are constantly in need for blood as a society,’ Lynch explained. ‘And you’re excluding an entire category of people for a reason that’s not based in science, it’s crazy to me.’
Lynch then explained the questionnaire to give blood doesn’t address risky behavior. It simply asks a blanket question about whether you’ve had sex with men or not. This doesn’t take into account if someone’s had multiple partners or if they’re in a monogamous same-sex relationship.
He wants the FDA to move to a risk-based assessment on a case-by-case basis.
Prior to December 2015, the FDA had a lifetime ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.
Kelsey Louie, Gay Men’s Health Crisis CEO, said after the FDA reduced the lifetime ban: ‘In practise, the new policy is still a continuation of the lifetime ban and ignores the modern science of HIV-testing technology while perpetuating the stereotype that all gay and bisexual men are inherently dangerous.’
‘Blood donation policies should be based on science, not stigma. The United States government has to stop reacting to HIV like it is the early 1980s.’
This lifetime ban came into effect during the early days of the AIDS epidemic in America.