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An interesting case has come before the U.S. District Court in Northern California: An Oakland woman and her partner want to conceive a child and have a male friend willing to donate, but the FDA requires sperm donors to undergo testing to verify their health—and the plaintiff believes that’s costly, time-consuming and unnecessary.
Turkey-baster-inseminations and similarly informal procedures aren’t uncommon in Norther California, but they are technically illegal: A sperm donor is required to have his blood and urine tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other illnesses within a week of donating.
Those rules, argues Cause of Action in the lawsuit filed last week, are “costly and burdensome” and “unconstitutional to the extent that they operate to regulate noncommercial, sexually intimateQUESTION: Should Gays And Lesbians Be Able To Make Babies Without FDA Approval?
choices and activity.”
“If there are donors like this who are not charging as a service, and not serving as a business, the FDA should not be intervening,” said Amber Abbasi, the group’s chief counsel for regulatory affairs.
Of course it’s not just lesbians with a stake: Anyone looking to forgo the medical establishment, from male couples who want to inseminate a female friend to altruistic donors like Trent Arsenault, is flouting the FDA rules.
Should they be allowed to? Obviously anyone making a baby the old-fashioned way doesn’t have to submit to testing and doctor’s visits, and the risk of transmitting something are just as great, if not greater.
But we can just imagine the legal nightmare that would erupt if someone discovered a “friend” passed along more than his genetic material. Especially when a STI could affect the health of the baby.
According to the story in the SFGate, a physical exam and blood work costs about $800—and that’s each time a man donates sperm.
Is that a small price to pay for a little piece of mind, or is it the principle of the thing? Should the FDA keep its mitts out of something noncommercial between two private parties?
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