Toronto
1 min

Unless you use a turkey baster…

Dykes can’t get queer sperm to sire their children because sperm banks don’t accept samples from gay men.



“It’s blatant discrimination that ReproMed won’t take gay men into their sperm donor program,” says Chris LePage, who has filed an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint against the Etobicoke fertility service.



LePage answered an ad for sperm donors in hopes of making extra cash.



During the telephone interview with ReproMed, he was asked if he’d ever had sex with another man. When LePage said yes, he was told that he could not be considered as a donor.



ReproMed employees say the company is just following orders.



And the orders come from Health Canada.



ReproMed assistant clinical director Cathy Ruberto says regulations are aimed to reduce risk of HIV and other diseases. “There is a long list of exclusions,” she says.



“Anyone who has had homosexual contact, IV drug users, anyone who received tattoos in the past six months, people who were imprisoned, clinic staff or their families, anyone with alcohol or other drug problems.”



The list also includes straight men with multiple sex partners.



There’s no mention of condom use.



“We reject 95 percent of the men who apply to our program,” Rubert claims. “Only five percent of applicants are accepted. We need to be as low risk as possible for diseases.”



Eric Morin of media relations at Health Canada says strict guidelines of who can donate sperm came into effect June 1, 1996. “The first screening process is meant to eliminate all higher risk populations,” he says.



While it is true that companies like ReproMed must test every sample and quarantine the samples for six months, Morin says that the costs of testing the sample of every hopeful donor would be unreasonable. This is why the preliminary screening process is so rigid.



Similar guidelines exist for donations of any human tissues or blood.



LePage answered an ad in Now Magazine. He says that if ReproMed is advertising there, “they must know that half of the readership is gay.



“If ReproMed does have to follow those guidelines, then they shouldn’t be in the business they are in, because it’s clearly discriminating against gays.”



LePage says he has tried to contact Health Canada – but no one has ever returned his calls.