Gay men can safely donate blood plasma, Dutch blood bank says
Gay men should be allowed to donate blood plasma, according to blood bank Sanquin, who will be discussing this with the Ministry of Public Health and gay interest organization COC on Monday. According to the blood bank, it is safe for gay men to donate, because viruses can now be more easily removed from plasma.
Men who have sex with men have an increased risk of blood-borne infections. Sanquin therefore accepted no gay donors at all, not making a distinction between men with a monogamous sexual relationship and men with multiple sexual partners. In 2015, the blood bank updated its policies to allow gay men to donate blood, as long as their last sexual contact was at least 4 months ago. Sanquin now wants to apply the same criteria for plasma donations.
The exclusion of gay men as donors was a requirement of the plasma processing industry, Marloes Metaal of Sanquin said to NOS. "But viruses can now be better removed from the plasma with all kinds of new innovations."
Blood plasma contains many antibodies that cannot be artificially reproduced. These antibodies are used to develop and produce medicine, like Sanquin is currently doing with the coronavirus. The demand for plasma is therefore very high.