SHOULD GAYS DONATE ORGANS?

George Smitherman is the Minister of Health in Ontario. He is also openly gay. Now he has criticized Health Canada for “ghettoizing communities” by applying rigid rules making it difficult for homosexuals to become organ donors.

Health Canada responded organ recipients should be aware of the risks and this means if they want to accept an organ from a sexually active gay man there is a higher risk.

Health Minister Smitherman doesn’t buy it. “Surely our doctors are able to judge the risks by a prospective donor without resorting to ghettoizing communities. Why would a regulation be written that ropes off prospective donors?”

But Health Canada insists some groups pose a higher risk. These include men who have had sex with another man even once in the past five years.

Do you think gay men should be able to give organ transplants the same as anybody else?

Or should there be government restrictions on gay men giving organs?

Or should the whole matter be left with the recipient and the doctor in the case?

12 Comments »

  1. 1
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “…if they want to accept an organ from a sexually active gay man there is a higher risk.”

    Hogwash… what year is this??

    “Do you think gay men should be able to give organ transplants the same as anybody else?”

    Of course! The lack of organ donors should underline this fact… there is a need for organ donors and unless a doctor has a valid reason why a person’s (ANY person, gay or hetro) organs aren’t acceptable the gov’t should butt out!

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    There you have right wing conservatives in action. As far as I am concerned any organ donation from any type of donors creates a risk. That is why there are tests available to check the quality and compatibility of donated organs with the recipients needs.
    The scientific community is abuzz with possible porcine and even simian transplants…so what’s the problem. Last time I met a gay he seemed quite human like.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I suspect this whole issue may be one of cost-benefit. Do donated organs, as a matter of policy, go through a mandatory screening process (such as testing for AIDS and other diseases)? If so, what are the costs associated with this screening process? Do certain demographic groups, such as homosexuals, have a disproportionately higher occurance rate of rejectable organs and, if so, are these rejections making all donations — good or bad — cost-prohibitive?
    A restriction on this basis would be the only one that would be justified and would not be discriminative based upon sexual orientation but for health reasons.

  4. 4
    Barbara Says:

    A possible issue could the time it takes to run a series of tests vs the urgency of reimplanting the organ.

  5. 5
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Tony/Barbera: You’re giving the gov’t too much credit!

    If there were other reasons (like the ones you both mentioned) then surely we’d have heard them from the gov’t. Instead all we have is:

    “Health Canada responded organ recipients should be aware of the risks and this means if they want to accept an organ from a sexually active gay man there is a higher risk.”

    It’s unacceptable…

  6. 6
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Joe Agnost’s concerns are important, although I’m not sure whether they benefit or hurt us.
    If I understand him correctly, he feels it is “unacceptable” for Health Canada to point out to the public the risk factor under discussion because, to do so, would be to implicitly discriminate against an identifiable group (gays).
    There are two competing interests here: freedom of speech (specifically, freedom of information) versus the obligation of government not to engage in actions that discriminates. On the one hand we want to be informed of possible health risks while on the other it is important that we don’t disseminate that information in a way that will exacerbate stereotypes that either harm or isolate members of an identifiable group further, something which I think we can all agree is undesirable.
    In a way, Joe’s concern is the same as the debate over racial profiling in the U.S.: when does disseminating potentially valuable information about members of an identifiable group creep into the area of discrimination?
    I have heard the argument made that 60% of all crime in the U.S. is committed by only 2% of the population, that 2% being male African-Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. Therefore, all things being equal, when confronted with a white 25-year-old suspect and a black 25-year-old suspect, for example, a policeman is perfectly justified to use his time and resources more effectively by going after the black suspect first.
    Is this wrong because discrimination in any form is bad or, as is the case with Health Canada and gays, simply valuable information being used in a practical way to benefit society?

  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Tony,
    Are they not both criminals? Go first after the more serious offender wether Black, White or in between.

  8. 8
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Yes I know Tony, you wrote all things being equal, but in such cases Blacks always seem more unequal.

  9. 9
    Chimera Says:

    Paul is right on the button when he says, “…any organ donation from any type of donors creates a risk.”

    The chief concern of people who want to bar gay men from donating blood and organs is AIDS, but they won’t come right out and say it anymore. What a load o’ crap! There are more heterosexuals with AIDS than gays, and women with AIDS are starting to outnumber the men. Hepatitis is also on the watch list, and most people with hep C are IV drug users, mostly not gay (mostly not sexually active, period — all their energy goes into getting the wherewithall for their next fix).

    Anyone who has ever had a blood transfusion is also a possible carrier of nasties. Anyone who takes prescription meds. Anyone who uses over-the-counter cold/flu remedies. Anyone who has undiagnosed health issues. Anyone who has recently ingested a substance that would qualify as an allergen to the recipient.

    In fact, just about everybody who qualifies as a blood/organ donor also disqualifies for some reason or other!

    So…(here comes one of my favorite questions)…what’s the worst that could happen if a gay man is allowed to donate blood/organs? The recipient might die? He’s gonna die anyway, right? He’s already signed a waiver of responsibility for the surgery or he wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the hospital, so have him sign an informed consent, and get on with it!

    I dunno ’bout any of you, but if we were born with a written guarantee to live forever, my certificate musta got lost in the mail. Does that mean I get to sue the post office?

  10. 10
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “he feels it is ‘unacceptable’ for Health Canada to point out to the public the risk factor under discussion because, to do so, would be to implicitly discriminate against an identifiable group (gays).”

    That isn’t my point at all… my “unacceptable” comment wasn’t meant that way.

    What I found unacceptable was that they seemed to be singling out “gay men” as being particulary “risky”. I don’t see how that can be the case… ANYONE sexually active is at risk for having STDs of many different varieties. If there was evidence that organs from gay people were riskier I’d be fine with them publishing it and warning the public about it… I just don’t ~think~ that’s the case.

    I say “think” because I really don’t KNOW. It’s just my opinion (and lack of confidence in the gov’t) here.

  11. 11
    Kate Says:

    A person in desperate need of an organ is already under a death sentence and their time is running out. Any organs that become available, no matter the source, are a miracle for the people who need them and should be used. There’s enough tests available that they can find out if the organ is viable and healthy before it’s implanted.

  12. 12
    jose Says:

    The whole matter should be left to the reciepient and the Doc.


RSS Feed for this entry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: