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Gay sperm donors turned away

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    Gay sperm donors turned away - 21-Jan-2006
    Fertility clinics are turning down sperm donations from gay men because of Australian regulations aimed at curbing the spread of HIV, a fertility specialist says.

    A Wellington man says he has been discriminated against after he was rejected by a sperm bank as a donor because he is gay.

    The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he decided to donate sperm after hearing media reports last week of a donor shortage.

    He says when he called the clinic he was shocked to hear they would not accept him as a donor.

    The clinic involved, Fertility Associates, says it cannot accept sperm donations from gay men because of Australian regulations, which control the accreditation of sperm banks in both Australia and New Zealand.

    Fertility Associates medical director Dr Richard Fisher says the organisation has requested a review of the policy on several occasions as donor testing is now advanced enough to ensure safety.

    But he says the Reproductive Technologies Accreditation Committee (RTAC), which controls sperm bank accreditation in both Australia and New Zealand, continues to require all donors are heterosexual.

    Fisher says the accreditation committee is nervous after a case in Australia where a number of women became infected with HIV.

    But he says Fertility Associates use gay men as donors with the explicit consent of the recipient.

    The Council for Civil Liberties however says the Australian regulations are unfair. The chairman of the Council for Civil Liberties, Tony Ellis, says the pattern of HIV / Aids around the world, particularly in Africa, mean the regulations are irrational.

    Ellis says given that the sperm is tested, the regulations are based on an irrational homophobic fear.

    Adding to the voices of discontent, The Human Rights Commission says the rejected man has grounds to make a complaint.

    Human Rights Commissioner, Warren Lindberg says, the man was rejected on the basis of his sexual orientation, which is one of the grounds in the Human Rights Act and says the commission would pursue the case as a dispute resolution matter.
    Ref: - TVNZ


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