The Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board (IBTSB) is reportedly set to recommend a lifting of the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.
The recommendation is set to be made during a medical conference in the Royal College of Surgeons, which takes place this week (April 21-22), reports Independent.ie.
“It’s important to remember that the total ban on gay men donating blood dates back to the 1980s and science and research has moved on in a major way since then,” GLEN’s Kieran Rose said.
“We very much welcome these moves towards re-examining the protocols.”
The final decision will be made by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, who last year suggested that the lifetime ban should be reduced to 12 months.
Varadkar – who himself came out ahead of May’s referendum on same-sex marriage – last year told told RTÉ that he was leaning towards adopting a 12-month deferral system, where men who have sex with men can only give blood if they abstain from sex for a year.
His comments followed a policy review from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board (IBTSB) outlining three potential ‘fixes’ for the issue: outright removal of the ban; leaving it in place; or the introduction of a deferral period where gay men could give blood after a fixed period of time.
In a statement to RTÉ news, the minister said the move would bring Ireland into line with many other English-speaking countries and that he would now seek advice from the Chief Medical Officer on the matter.The minister also said he wanted to hear from patients before making a final decision.
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