Organ tissue donated by Iowa teen denied because he was gay

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DES MOINES, IOWA - Losing a loved one is never easy, but being able to give life to someone else is one way to make sure their memory never dies.

Sheryl Moore's son, Alexander "AJ" Betts, committed suicide more than a year ago.

But months before his death, the 16-year-old signed up to be an organ donor.

His mom got a letter saying his kidneys, liver, heart and lungs had been donated, but not his eyes.

The reason? Because he was gay.

"My initial feeling was just very angry because I didn't understand why my 16-year-old son's eyes couldn't be donated just 'cause he's gay," Moore said.

Moore says she was asked if her son was sexually active, but she didn't know.

So The Donor Network had to assume that he had been active in the last five years, which deemed him ineligible to donate his tissues or eyes.

According to FDA policy, gay men can't donate blood or certain types of tissue that could potentially carry HIV.

A regulation that came about at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

"This is archaic, and it is just silly that people wouldn't get the life-saving assistance that they need because of regulations that are 30 years old," Moore said.

National medical organizations have spoken out about the law, but the FDA says the policy on blood donations from gays is not discriminatory and is based on scientific data.

Wonder if this latest dispute is enough of an eye opener for some to re-examine the gifts of living.

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