FDA organ donation rules are being challenged

A mother in Iowa is trying to change a Food and Drug Administration policy after the eye donation of her deceased son was rejected.

That donation was rejected because he was gay, and the FDA fears that any tissue and blood donation could come with a risk for HIV.

The policy with the FDA was first established in the eighties, at the height of the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Critics say that the policy is discriminatory, but the FDA and those in favor of the policy say that it is a necessity in order to keep patients safe.

Both the FDA and the United Network for Organ Sharing or UNOS, have rules and guidelines when it comes to donating tissue and blood. Those guidelines establish risk factors, depending on the organ donors history.

"Both of the organizations use risk stratification to try to determine if it's a high risk, moderate risk, or low risk, and then the recipient just has to be willing to take those risks and move forward," said Justin Puckett, D.O.

The FDA and UNOS risk factors for donations include active cancer in that organ and a history of blood transfusions. Medical teams review both medical and social histories to determine donor suitability.