The Exclusion of Sperm Donation on the Basis of Sexual Practices: Time for a Policy Update

Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jun;127(6):1097-1099. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001432.


Currently, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and American Society for Reproductive Medicine exclude sperm donation from men who have sex with men. The recommended screening includes questioning donors about their sexual practices and performing a physical examination to look for signs of anal intercourse in addition to standard human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) laboratory testing. The rationale cited is concern over increased risk of HIV transmission in this higher prevalence population. We were unable to find evidence that excluding men who have sex with men or those with signs of anal intercourse on physical examination decreases the false-negative rate of laboratory testing. Current policy allows for men who have sex with men to be prohibited from donating sperm for the use of gestational carriers and therefore discriminates against this population for whom assisted reproductive technology may be their only means of genetic reproduction. We suggest policy revision to include the most advanced HIV laboratory tests and eliminating exclusionary demographics as part of screening.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • HIV / isolation & purification
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Policy*
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Semen / virology
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Tissue Donors*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration