Blood donation criteria review board to be established

The department have announced the establishment of a post-surveillance monitoring group, chaired by a representative of the Office of the CMO to review the impact of lifting the life ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men.

This groups will assess the impact, if any of the changes in the blood donation criteria in 2017. Prior to these changes there was a lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

Currently gay and bisexual men can only donate blood in Ireland if they have refrained from sexual activity for 12 months, criteria that does not need to be met by heterosexual men

I have called for a further review of this measure, and for a model of individual risk assessment to be brought in, as there is in the UK and other countries- especially in light of the recent blood importation from the UK.

A person 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.

The establishment of this review board is a hugely positive step forward. I will continue to advocate for an equal criteria in terms of blood donation. One that is treats all donors fairly, and does not discriminate against individuals based solely on their sexual orientation