Men who donate blood could now do so more often following the publication new guidance from NHS Blood and Transplant.
NHSBT has reviewed practice from other countries where men are allowed to donate more frequently.
This has shown to be safe for men, so we have decided to implement this change for our male donors to give four times in 12 months, as long as they wait 12 weeks between donations.
This could mean a potential 100,000 extra units of blood could be donated by men every year to help save and improve the lives of thousands of people across the country every day.
Martin Lake, who has been donating for 33 years and has given 88 donations to date, is looking forward to the opportunity to do it more often, knowing his one extra donation a year can potentially help save the lives of three adults or seven babies.
Martin said: “I work shifts so can easily fit donating blood into my work pattern. Over the years I’ve come to see donating blood as my civic duty and also my way of putting something back into the community.”
Women can still only donate every 16 weeks, which equates to 3 times in 12 months, as they have lower levels of stored iron than men for various reasons.
NHBST head of nursing Anne Sheldon said; “By offering men the chance to donate more often, we have the potential to increase regular blood stocks which is a great step forward in meeting the 7,000 units needed every day to meet hospital demands.
“We need to make sure that this is done safely though which is why we’ve introduced this for men, but not women. Female donors do not have the same levels of stored iron as male donors for lots of reasons.
“This means that they cannot donate as often as men because if they do it may put them at risk of anaemia and NHSBT will never risk the health of donors.”
This change brings NHSBT in line with other European countries such as Portugal and Italy who allow men to donate four times a year, but women are advised to only donate three times to protect them from developing health problems such as anaemia.
Most people aged between 17 – 65 and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.
To book an appointment call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk