Ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men to be reviewed

The ban on donations has been criticised in the past

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A blood donor clinic on D'olier Street in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board's (IBTSB) ban on men who have had sex with men donating blood is set to be reviewed. 

The ban is up for discussion at a conference which will take place on April 21st and 22nd in the Royal College of Surgeons.   

According to The Irish Independent, a recommendation to remove the lifetime ban is expected to follow, with the IBTSB deeming it "a desirable social objective", noting that a number of countries have already lifted similar bans on the basis of "requirements for justice, fairness and no-discrimination".

The final decision on removal of the ban would then be given to the Minster for Health, but the earliest that it could be signed in would be June.

Kieran Rose of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) welcomed the move, stating that "blood donation is the only area which gay men are completely excluded from, and obviously that's stigmatising gay men for a lot of people."

"Of course the safety of the blood supply is of critical importance," added Rose, "but the point is that science has moved on and countries such as Canada have introduced significant reforms in the whole area of the protocols, and we would really welcome similar moves in Ireland".