And if you cannot give blood, here's a list of other ways to help the Irish Blood Transfusion Service
With the news that Irish clinics have seen a 21% drop off in the number of donors, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has launched a campaign to encourage more men and women to come forward before the end of 2016. With more than 3,000 donations needed every week, one in four of us will need a blood transfusion at some point in our lives, and the new #MissingType social media drive is hoping to encourage those with A, B, and O blood groups to offer what they can.
In June, it was revealed that the IBTS had voted to end its lifetime ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood. Instead, gay and bisexual men who have abstained from sex for a period of 12 months and are in good health will be able to donate. Those who have, at some point, contracted certain sexually-transmitted infections will be eligible to donate after a five-year wait.
But restrictions apply to more groups than men who have sex with men. In order to be eligible to give blood, the following information applies:
After checking iron levels, the IBTS gathers information from each donor to determine whether or not he or she is medically permitted to give as much as 470ml of blood. You will not be allowed to give blood if...
While the 12-month waiting limit for men who have sex with men has not yet been introduced, the following waiting periods do apply:
Men and women who have undergone acupuncture, have anxiety or depression, have high blood pressure or cholesterol may still be eligible to give blood. Anyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome cannot, and anyone with a broken bone or fracture will only be allowed after their cast has been removed.
In order to check if you are permitted to donate blood by the IBTS, you can take their eligibility quiz here. Should you find you are not allowed to give blood, you can still help the IBTS in the following ways:
For more information on blood and platelet donations, or for information on joining the Irish Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry (IUMBR), please visit GiveBlood.ie.