MPs want to lift restrictions on blood donations from gay men

Gay men must be able to donate blood if they have safe sex, according to the VVD, D66 and GroenLinks. The parties want blood bank Sanquin to lift the restrictions on gay men donating blood if they live a monogamous life. They asked Minister Bruno Bruins for Medical Care to investigate whether this is possible, the Telegraaf reports.

Currently blood bank Sanquin does not take blood from men who have had sex with a man in the past four months. This is because men who have sex with multiple male partners are at higher risk of being infected with HIV or hepatitis, for example.

But VVD, D66 and GroenLinks believe that this precautionary measure discriminates against gay men who practice safe sex. They want the blood bank to only use this measure on men with a more risky lifestyle. They call on Minister Bruins to investigate whether blood donation will remain safe if Sanquin adjusts its selection policy in this way. 

Sanquin is looking for more male donors. Currently more women donate blood than men. The blood bank aims to have a reflection of the population in its donors. Men can also donate blood more often than women. 

Bruins is not very enthusiastic about this plan, according to the newspaper. No other country works in this way, and an investigation into this method will entail many practical and ethical obstacles, he said. He called it "a shame" that gay people are excluded, but "patient safety is paramount". He added that Sanquin already reduced the restriction period for men who have sex with men from one year to four months.