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Blood donation rules in line with international standards

Amendments have been made to blood donor criteria (Image supplied)

Bermuda’s blood-donor eligibility criteria has been amended to include risk-based questions that will be the same for all, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board said the change brought Bermuda in line with blood donation criteria in Britain, Canada and the US.

Eyitayo Fakunle, consultant haematologist and acting chief of pathology, said the focus was to ensure that the criteria maximised the safety of blood supply.

Dr Fakunle said: “We test all our donated blood and we also defer donations from people who do not meet our criteria.

“Deferrals of higher-risk individuals and testing of all donated blood together give us the best protection overall.”

The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre criteria previously had time-based deferrals specific to men who had sex with men, as well as women who had sex with men engaging in sex with men, during the previous three months.

“These criteria didn’t address the sexual behaviour of all individuals, nor did they recognise that not everyone in one group has the same level of risk,” Dr Fakunle explained.

The new criteria will defer prospective donors who report having anal sex with a new sexual partner, or more than one sexual partner of any gender, in the past three months.

People who are in monogamous relationships of three months or more will therefore not be deferred, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Dr Fakunle added: “We continue to use global research and evidence so that our blood donation criteria ensure safe transfusions for our patients. This is without doubt our most important priority in transfusion services.

“Criteria are updated when science indicates there is a more effective way to ensure safety. As a small jurisdiction, we closely follow the US and Canada specifically as we are accredited by patient safety bodies from both those countries.”

A fact sheet on sexual activity and blood donation, and all the blood donation eligibility criteria, is available on the BHB website at www.bermudahospitals.bm/be-a-donor.

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Published May 09, 2024 at 11:00 am (Updated May 12, 2024 at 9:05 pm)

Blood donation rules in line with international standards

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