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IPFS News Link • Food And Drug Administration / F.D.A

FDA finalizes new rules on blood donation for gay and bisexual men


On May 11, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new regulations on blood donation that pave the way for more bisexual and gay men to donate blood. The regulatory agency finalized a new set of risk-based rules for blood donation. Prospective donors will be asked the same set of questions during donor screening regardless of their sexual orientation or sex going forward. 

The new rules move the US away from a restrictive and outdated policy that only applied to men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with MSM. According to the FDA, the updated policy is "based on the best available scientific evidence" and is more in line with policies already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada. It will also potentially expand the number of eligible blood donors, while maintaining safeguards put in place to protect the blood supply.  

"The FDA has worked diligently to evaluate our policies and ensure we had the scientific evidence to support individual risk assessment for donor eligibility while maintaining appropriate safeguards to protect recipients of blood products. The implementation of these recommendations will represent a significant milestone for the agency and the LGBTQI+ community," said Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a statement. "The FDA is committed to working closely with the blood collection industry to help ensure timely implementation of the new recommendations and we will continue to monitor the safety of the blood supply once this individual risk-based approach is in place."

Over the last several years, the FDA has begun to consider easing the blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men, who in past years faced a lifetime ban on blood donation. Many scientists and LGBTQIA+ organizations say this policy was discriminatory and based on outdated stigmas