Blood donation clinic returns to campus

Some 236 students turned out to the pop-up blood donation clinic that came to campus from February 2nd to February 4th.

Over the three day period, 130 of those that were present donated blood. The clinic was brought to campus by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS).

Mary Deery from the IBTS explained that 106 that attended but neglected to donate were deemed ineligible.

“All of those who attended and were not bled had intended to donate. I cannot give you the reasons why students were deferred from clinics.” Deery said.

Clinics set up in colleges have around a 35 per cent deferral rate. IBTS last set up a clinic on campus in November 2014. On that occasion the clinic also spanned three days but received donations from 360 students in total.

There are various grounds that rule out a candidate from donating including:  tattoos, failing to be within the required weight category (50kg-130kg), failing to be within the required age range (18-65) and being pregnant.

In Ireland, a man who has engaged in sexual intercourse with another man is prohibited from donating blood, whether or not a condom was used. However in January, Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar announced that the ban may potentially be relaxed.

The ban was introduced in 1985 as part of an initiative to prevent the spread of HIV and Aids. One of the potential solutions that has been discussed is that a gay or bisexual man who wishes to donate blood would have to abstain from sex with another man for a one year prior to donating, as is the procedure in the UK.

“My initial impression is to favour a one-year deferral which would bring Ireland into line with many other English-speaking countries, but I will first get advice from the Chief Medical Officer, and hear the voices of patients, before making a final decision,” Mr Varadkar said on the proposed relaxing of the ban.

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