3,000 blood donations required weekly; can we afford to be so picky?

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

THE Irish Blood Transfusions Service (IBTS) has announced that 3,000 donations are required weekly to maintain Ireland’s blood supply. Successful applicants can donate blood every 90 days, roughly four times a year.  First time applicants must be between 18 – 65 years old.

The process of applying to become a donor is a strenuous and time consuming process. Applicants must fill out question forms which ask things such as:

  • For men; have you ever had sex with another man, even once, even if you used a condom?
  • Have you spent one year or more in total/cumulatively in the UK* between 1980 and 1996, including living, working or on holidays?

Give Blood advise that you cannot give blood for 12 months after doing the following things:

  • You have left prison
  • Having sex with anyone who has ever been given money or drugs for sex
  • Having oral sex with a man who has engaged in sexual activities with another man
  • Having sex with anyone who has ever has sex in a part of the world where HIV is common.

While the questions and regulations initially seem to be excessive and over the top, the public are reminded that blood transfusions carry high risk of infection and the IBTS must attempt to minimalize any possible transfer of disease between patients.

Mirenda O’Donavan, Head of corporate affairs of IBTS, said: ‘permanent deferral is the most effective way of preventing transmission by blood transfusion’.

A spokesman for IBTS stated: ‘In addition to testing every unit of blood collected, the IBTS, like every blood transfusion service in the world, operates a wide range of deferral policies, some temporary, some permanent. This is for the safety of patients.’

Katelyn Cook

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