New Zealand clinic legalizes sperm donations from gay men

Danny McCoy | March 14, 2006

Richard Fisher
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A fertility clinic’s U-Turn on a ban against gay men from donating sperm means it will start accepting donations by the end of the month, according to Reuters.

The decision comes after a Wellington man was denied from making a donation after hearing about a national donor shortage and offering to help. Both he and his partner were told they could not donate sperm because they were gay.

Human rights experts argued that the policy was blatant and irrational discrimination.

Fertility Associates had said its clinics were happy to accept gay men as personal donors selected by the recipient couple or woman. However, they could not take gay donors for the general sperm bank.

The organization said the rule stemmed from the early days of HIV. Despite routine testing of every sperm donation, gay men have continued to be banned from making donations due to their higher risk of carrying the virus.

Fertility Associates spokesman Richard Fisher announced Friday that under further advice from the previous committee chairman that clinics are able to set their own risk parameters, he had decided to allow donations.

Fertility Associates had been approached by the Human Rights Commission about its policy and began working through a process to screen potential donors in a non-discriminatory way, subjecting everyone to the same questions and testing regime, Fisher said.

Fisher said he did not know to what extent the move would alleviate the sperm donor shortage. He told Reuters there are 120 women or couples on the sperm donation waiting list at present. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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