Cal Mitchell thought he was just going to get some results back on routine blood work that day in 2006. Instead, he learned that life had changed forever with a diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
LGBTQ+ and Donation
Although blood donation may not be possible for some people in the LGBTQ+ community, organ donation is!
Everyone can sign up to be a donor. And you can register online! Do you have specific questions? See below for some answers to frequently asked questions.
Can I register as a donor if I identify as LGBTQ+?
Yes! Anyone can sign up, regardless of who they love or how they express themselves! Registration is open to everyone, including those who are:
- Gay, lesbian, or bisexual
- Questioning their sexual identity or orientation
- Transgender, regardless of the person's physical anatomy or appearance
- HIV positive
Can I be an organ donor?
Anyone can be a donor; organs are matched based on body size, blood type, medical urgency, and geographic location. Race, gender, or sexual orientation of the donor or recipient is never considered in regards to matching.
I can't donate blood. Is it the same for organs, eyes, and tissues?
Organ and tissue donation are regulated by different federal standards. As of now, the FDA, which oversees blood and tissue donation, has regulations in place which can limit what can be donated by gay men. These limitations are NOT the same for organ donation--gay men in the U.S. have been both living and deceased organ donors, and the transplants they made possible have saved countless lives.
If I am living with HIV, can I be an organ donor?
Yes! If you want to help others through the gift of donation at the time of your death, register to be a donor and let the medical professionals determine what you can give to help others. People living with treatable conditions, like Hepatitis C, B, and HIV, can all receive transplants. Now, with better medications and advancements in transplant, we are able to help both potential organ recipients AND potential organ donors who are also HCV+ or HIV+ to save the life of someone on the list who is also positive for the same treatable condition. The HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act was passed in 2013. The HOPE Act allows people living with HIV to be organ donors to people on the transplant list who are also living with HIV. Something special about the HOPE Act is that by expanding the number of people who can be organ donors, everyone can receive a transplant faster. Every time a donor under the HOPE Act saves the life of a person on the waitlist, everyone else on the waitlist moves “up” even faster. There are currently more than 200 people living with HIV who are waiting on the transplant waiting list in the U.S.
Can a person undergoing gender transition or who identifies as non-binary register and be a donor?
There are no gender-based restrictions on donation. A person who is transgender or non-binary can register and become a donor regardless of whether or not they are having or have completed medical procedures.