Where can I donate blood? All blood donation centers in Scotland as NHS calls for more male blood donors
Statistics from 2019 showed that for every 100 new female donors, there were 70 new male donors, meaning that men only made up 41% of new donors last year.
Men’s blood generally contains higher levels of iron, which is necessary for some transfusions and products, meaning that blood stocks could be under pressure if more men did not donate blood.
A 26% increase in male donors
The NHS is seeking to address the gender imbalance by increasing the number of male donors for the first time by 26% in 2020.
January has been allotted as a month to raise awareness of the special uses of male blood by the National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) – male blood, for example, can only be used for certain neonatal transfusions.
Another reason that male donors are the key to a strong blood supply is that female blood can be rich in antibodies, which can make transfusions more difficult.
Speaking of the gender imbalance, Mike Stredder, Donor Recruitment Manager for the NHSBT, said: “All of our donors are amazing. But we need over 68,000 men to start donating blood this year.
“Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary and vital ways, but we don’t have enough new male donors coming. It’s not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it’s about getting the good mix of genre.
“We are focusing the campaign on our donor centers, where there is more capacity for new donors.”
In the footsteps of Bob Downes
As part of the new campaign for male donors, NHSBT appealed for support from retired geography professor Bob Downes who has made 74 donations since 2000, the highest number of such donors.
Encouraging more men to donate regularly, he said, “I am not going to be giving indefinitely, and there are a lot of older people coming to the end of their donation period. We need new people coming in. All the time.
“It’s painless, there is definitely a feel-good factor, and the moment you walk through the door of any session, you feel welcome.
“Starting to donate when you are young could be your first opportunity to give something back to society.”
How to donate in your area
Blood donors based in Scotland can register to donate at scotblood.co.uk or by calling 0345 90 90 999. In Scotland there are five permanent centers, you can find your nearest center here.
Am I allowed to donate blood?
Most people can donate blood.
The NHS notes that you can donate if you meet the following criteria:
– fit and healthy – weigh between 7 stones 12 lbs and 25 stones, or 50 kg and 160 kg – be between 17 and 66 years old (or 70 years old if you have already given blood) – be over 70 years old and have donated blood in the past two years
You may not be able to donate blood if any of the following apply.
– if you are receiving medical or hospital treatment – if you are taking medication – after traveling outside the UK – after getting a tattoo or a piercing – during and after pregnancy – if you feel sick – if you have cancer – after receiving blood, blood products or organs