A Canadian woman has said she believes her late son’s organs were rejected for donation because he was gay.
Nancy Campana says she was asked if her son Rocky, who was an organ donor, was gay after his death.
‘I was asked if he was a gay male and I said, “yes.” And I was asked if he was a sexually active gay male or if he had a partner and I said, “yes”,’ Campana told CBC News.
She said the tone of the conversation changed, and the family was told they could not donate her son’s organs.
Her family was told there were traces of drug use, but doctors say this could have been a false positive due to what they used to try and save his life.
Rocky, 23, attempted suicide and was taken off life support shortly afterwards in August last year.
‘When I got off the phone to relay that to both [Rocky’s father] Rob and a lot of Rocky’s friends … many of them broke down,’ she said. ‘The gay ones said, “Nancy, we can’t donate blood; they’re not going to take our organs.”’
In 2007, Health Canada changed the rules for organ donation. Sexually active gay men, injection drug users and other groups considered high risk will no longer be accepted.
It is similar to regulations on who can donate blood, which excludes groups that are high risk of transmitting infectious diseases such as HIV.
Under Health Canada’s policy, a gay man who has not had sex in five years prior to organ donation would be considered an acceptable donor, and a straight man who has had a single sexual encounter with a male would not be considered acceptable for donation.
According to the CBC, the Campanas are working with politicians to change the rules making it easier for gay men to donate their organs after death.
On 14 April, friends and family organized the Run For Rocky which raised money for gay-straight alliances.