An Iowa teenager who took his own life signed up to be an organ donor just six months before he died.
A.J. Betts', 16, was disconnected from life support last year after his attempted suicide left him critical injuries. His family said he was horribly bullied at school for being mixed race (black and white), for having had a cleft lip and for his sexual orientation after he was outed as gay.
Sheryl Moore, Betts' mom, said even through her son was bullied, he still wanted to help others. He signed up to donate his organs six months before his death.
Moore received a letter detailing what had become of her son's organs. A 14-year-old boy received his heart, but some of his other tissues, like his eyes, were denied because he was gay.
KCCI reports that's due to a decades-old Food And Drug Administration regulation. It says any donor believed to have a risk for communicable diseases, like HIV, can not donate his or her eyes along with other tissue, specially pointing to men who have sex with other men.
Moore could not confirm whether A.J. was sexually active, so he was deemed ineligible. But the ban doesn't just stop at tissues.
Gay men are also banned for life from donating blood.
A.J.'s mother says she had hopes of again one day looking into the eyes of her son and calls the regulations "archaic."