Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has welcomed the news that the one-year blood donation deferral policy for men who have sex with men is set to be lifted.
An independent advisory committee to review the evidence base for deferral and exclusion around blood donation was established earlier this year. The Group has recommended changes to deferral policy on a two-phased phased basis with the initial phase being introduced in early 2022 – reducing the existing 12-month deferral for men who have sex with men to four months and that the second phase will introduce an individual assessment process for donors – once IBTS introduces an electronic individual risk assessment system similar to what’s used in UK.
Senator O’Loughlin commented, “I would like to thank Minister Donnelly for endorsing the lifting of the one-year blood donation deferral policy for gay and bisexual men donating blood. I have been campaigning for this change in law which was discriminatory and wrong.
“A person’s sexual orientation should not be a factor in their ability to give blood, in my opinion. Each individual donor should be assessed for their individual risk, regardless of their sexual orientation. I will continue to advocate for equal criteria in terms of blood donation. One that treats all donors fairly and does not discriminate against individuals based solely on their sexual orientation.”