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Case arguing against a clinic’s policy of refusing fertility services to gay men


Dennis Barros, a veterinarian in Orlando, Florida, and his partner planned to have a child through a surrogate mother, who consented to carry an egg fertilized by Barros’s sperm. But the clinic they enlisted refused to provide services to Barros. The clinic claimed the Food and Drug Administration guidelines on anonymous sperm donations, which suggest refusing donations from men who have had sex with men in the past five years, prevented it from performing the procedure. Lambda Legal explained that those guidelines do not apply in this case (Barros is hardly anonymous), but the clinic still refused to comply. We’ve now filed a complaint with the Orlando Human Rights Board.


The FDA currently has two categories of sperm donors: “directed donors,” who are donating to a consenting woman, and “anonymous donors,” who donate to a sperm bank. There are minimal restrictions on directed donors like Barros.

Lambda Legal’s Impact

Gay men seeking to have children would be unable to use fertility services if the clinic has its way. This complaint is part of Lambda Legal’s ongoing effort to ensure that sexual orientation is not unfairly used to determine eligibility for sperm donation. As part of this effort, Lambda Legal has been working with the FDA to create nondiscriminatory policies regarding sperm donation by men who have sex with men.


  • September 2006 Lambda Legal files complaint with the Orlando Human Rights Board.