Blood donor restrictions for gay and bisexual men ‘out of date’ and ‘unfair’, says Manchester’s LGBTF chief

Manchester’s LGBT Foundation is calling for gay and bisexual men to be granted the freedom to donate blood.

The blanket ban of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood in the UK was lifted in 2011.

However there is still a ban on any man who has had sex with another man donating for 12 months after his last sexual experience.

This 12-month deferral period also applies to female blood donors who have had sex with a man who has had male partners.

At a time when donations are falling and in light of screening and immunisation advancements, LGBTF’s chief executive Paul Martin says we must think again about the restrictions on MSM giving blood.

He said: “The restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in the UK are unnecessary, out of date and unfair. 

“At a time when the number of people donating blood is falling, gay and bisexual men should be allowed to donate their life saving blood.”

Mr Martin adds his voice to the fight for these restrictions to be lifted as FreedomToDoate launch their nationwide campaign to secure a review into the guidelines on who can donate blood.

With a 40% drop in blood donations over the last 10 years and a quarter of people receiving a crucial blood donation over their lifetime, the campaign says that the time has come for the government to once again look into who is able to donate blood.

Campaign founder Ethan Spibey said: “Like many of the people involved in this campaign, blood donation is a very personal topic for me.

“My Grandad is alive because someone donated blood and the fact I can’t do the same for someone else is for me, fundamentally wrong.

“I’m passionate about this campaign so I hope that people will get behind us and support our belief that those who are able to give blood safely, should be able to.”

There is also a complete blanket ban on anyone who has ever had sex for money or who has ever injected drugs. 

Blood donation is something one in four of us will rely on at some point in our lives.

To find out more visit the FreedomToDonate website or sign the petition here.

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