Lincoln student petitions to change blood donation rules

A petition has been set up by a University of Lincoln student to change the rules concerning the eligibility of homosexual and bisexual men donating blood.

Thomas Kohler who is setting up the petition. Photo: Kay Clark
Thomas Kohler who is setting up the petition. Photo: Kay Clark
As the rules currently stand, if a man has had sex with another man within the past 12 months, they cannot give blood.

In addition, if a woman has had sex with a man, who has had sex with another man, even if protected, they are unable to give blood.

Thomas Kohler, a 2nd year History student, aims to have these rules changed in light of recent medical advancements concerning HIV tests, whilst also significantly widening the number of potential blood donors.

“My argument is that if we can donate blood marrow and organs, which are tested in very similar ways to blood, why can’t we donate blood?” Kohler told The Linc.

“All blood is tested in the same way and they’ve decided that those tests are foolproof enough for all the other blood that is donated, so why not blood from this specific category?”

Kohler will require 100,000 signatures in order for the matter to be approved for debate in Parliament, and has set himself March 2015 as a realistic goal.

“I think a year is a sensible target,” said Kohler. “This time next year I’d like thousands of signatures, but I imagine it will take longer than that to get the full amount. The biggest problem is keeping the petition hyped up enough for people to have not forgotten about it.”

So how does Kohler plan on gathering the number of signatures required?

“It starts off with a first mass signing on Wednesday 19th March,” Kohler stated.

“People are going to bring down laptops, iPads, Kindles etc, anything we can to get people to sign. We will then post the petition on the pages of all LGBT groups around the country, such as all the different universities. It’s going to be a long process, but I think it’s worth it.”

In 2011, a lifetime ban on homosexual and bisexual men giving blood was loosened to allow men who had not had sex with another man for 12 months to be able to donate, however Kohler believes that the time has come for this to be completely lifted, particularly in light of the nation’s blood stock shortages.

“Homosexual and bisexual people represent 10% of the population, and they’re cutting off 10% of the population’s blood to be donated.

Considering not enough people donate blood anyway, and there’s gay people fighting to give blood, it’s not on.”

If you wish to sign the petition then Kohler will be in the Atrium of the Main Admin Building from 10am until 5pm on Wednesday 19th March.

7 Responses to Lincoln student petitions to change blood donation rules

  1. Steph Kent says:

    Go for it if they will allow donated organs then why have this rule over blood donation one contradicts the other If you have been watching Emmerdale look at Val Pollard ok its a TV program but it still proves a point You can add my name as it is wrong these days seeing as the advance in medical treatment have come so far How many men would say oh i slept with a bloke 3/4 months ago when in bed with a woman In most relationship you dont start asking have you ever slept with a bloke (male/female) it is not something that is always addressed or even spoken about Put my name down it is wrong to discriminate like this if they will accept organs what is the problem with blood all it takes is a simple test Tell me where to sign

  2. Eleanor Crooks says:

    Gay people should be allowed to give blood!

  3. Nikki Wynne says:

    I wish this were an online petition, it would be much easier to sign and get involved in and I’m sure it would get signed much faster. I want to sign this but I had no intention of going in to uni today. Is it not possible to set it up on the HM government site? Avaaz is good for them too.

  4. Tom says:

    I tried to sign it twice over the course of the day. But the people who were there were chatting to each other, and completely ignoring me. It wasn’t that busy either! It felt as if they were really rude to me :((

  5. Because of those rules, thousands of perfectly healthy and disease-free people who would be happy to be out there donating blood have been prevented from saving lives. It’s a shame to rule out people just because of what ‘might’ be.

  6. Jan Faherty (Mr) says:

    Jan Edward Faherty Before you sign this operation I would ask that you ask yourself one question. In the event that you require a blood transfusion or multiple blood transfusions do you want that donated blood to be as safe as it can be, No test for any pathology parameter is 100% perfect, therefore there are numerous barriers a unit of blood must pass before it is considered safe to give to a patient. The patient who has the right to receive safe blood. The many exclusions to blood donation (the European Guidelines run to several pages) all aim, on the basis of regularly reviewed scientific and epidemiological evidence to ensure that no donor is harmed by donation and no patient is harmed by a blood transfusion. The issues surrounding bone marrow and organ donation are somewhat different. Be totally assured that the condition in which blood can be donated and in which it can be given to a patient are reviewed regularly. Especially in these days when organ and blood donations are in short supply.

    NOTE: it is NOT a ban on gay or bisexual men but on men who are willing to admit to having sex with men. Not all tell the truth and this has led to patients being infected with HIV in recent years – See the Annual SHOT report..