Question to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly, TD)
To ask the Minister for Health if he will outline the organ donation policy in respect of gay men; if this policy differs from other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 26th November, 2013.
EU Directive 2012/53/EU requires Member States of take all necessary measures to safeguard the recipients of organs. This was transposed by the European Union (Quality and Safety of Human Organs Intended for Transplantation) Regulations, S.I. No. 325 of 2012.
The Regulations apply to donation, procurement, testing, characterisation, transport and transplantation of organs. They set out a clear legal framework for the application of quality and safety standards for human organs intended for transplantation. The Regulations, however, do not specify who should or should not be donors, but state that selection assessments carried out pursuant to the regulations may provide for the exclusion of persons whose donation could present unacceptable health risks.
For transplantation to proceed safely, all potential donors are risk assessed, in line with international practice, in order to prevent inadvertent transmission of infection. All potential donors, or, in the case of deceased donors, their next of kin, must answer a range of questions prior to the organ donation process proceeding. These include questions in relation to certain risk behaviours. A decision on whether someone who is gay may become a donor is not based on sexual orientation. However, it is known that there is an increased level of HIV infection rates among MSM in Ireland and this could influence decisions on organ donation. While testing for HIV is sensitive and effective, there remains a period between infection and detection for which allowance has to be made in deciding on acceptability for organ donation.