Men Who Have Sex with Men
Men who have had sex with other men within the past 5 years are currently not eligible to join the Be The Match Registry® as a potential marrow donor. This is because men who have sex with other men are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV.
The long-standing exclusion of at-risk groups for HIV from the registry aligns with the policy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was set to minimize the risk of HIV transmission through blood and tissue donation.
More information regarding the FDA’s tissue donation policy pertinent to men who have sex with men is available on the FDA website (see section IV.E).
We periodically revisit this issue in consultation with our independent Donor and Patient Safety Committee, weighing the risk and benefit to patients in need of a transplant as new information becomes available. The FDA also periodically revisits this issue, and we continue to take into account their guidance in evaluating our own policy.
~National Marrow Donor Program
But, then again, there's a bunch of odd rules like being banned from donating if you lived in the UK for three consecutive months, or in greater Europe for five years, or if you have dementia because somehow that affects how sturdy your marrow might be, I guess.
The reason I bring this is up is because a few weeks back I had finally decided to look into becoming a bone marrow donor. I was healthy, I had good insurance, and I wasn't getting any younger for it as much as I would like to think otherwise. (I turn 29 this weekend, godhelpme.)
I had heard the procedure was a more than a bit painful and the recovery somewhat tedious, though medical advances had been made for the procedure to be less invasive. Or, at least as less invasive as harvesting the tender humors from the inside your femur with a drill can be.
"What do you mean, I'm not an ideal candidate?" I asked poor Tiffany, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) girl I was now raising my voice at over the phone.