Call for male blood donors

NHS Blood and Transplant is urging men in Greater Manchester to match women in making becoming a blood donor their New Year’s resolution for 2019.

New figures reveal more women than men in the region became New Year blood donors in 2018.

Figures show that last year 555 women in Greater Manchester who registered in January became blood donors, compared to only 316 men despite male donors being more likely to have blood that can be used for some products such as platelets and allogeneic serum drops to treat people with dry eye conditions.

Donors of every gender are welcome and men and women can have the same blood groups.

However, men’s blood can contain fewer antibodies against red and white blood cells because women often make these antibodies during pregnancy.

This means male blood is often more suitable for creating blood products used to treat patients.

Men also generally have higher iron levels than women, so they are less likely to be deferred from donating due to low haemoglobin.

NHS Blood and Transplant has been analysing donor recruitment trends and is now working on reaching more male potential donors.

Factors affecting male donor recruitment are thought to include the recent greater use of social media campaigns, which are more popular with women.

Mike Stredder, director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s vital that more men start donating blood because their blood is used to provide life-saving products like plasma and platelets – to save victims of burns, car crashes and treat to patients with cancer.

“We’re incredibly grateful to all our female donors in Greater Manchester who are vital in providing lifesaving blood to those in need.

“But we need men to catch up with recent recruitment because their blood can have different characteristics which can make it important in certain situations.

“It’s more likely that we can use men’s blood to stop bleeding after injury or surgery.

“A recent study has shown that fewer men are scared of donating blood than women, so I would appeal to them to step up and be part of an already amazing group of people who have kept their resolution to give blood.”

By the second week in January, most people have broken their new year’s resolutions, but NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people, especially men, to follow through on their commitment and give blood this year.

There are more than 34,000 active blood donors in Greater Manchester and more than 16,000 of these currently give blood at the two donor centre sites in Manchester.

Giving blood is quick and easy and just one donation can save or improve the lives of three people desperately in need of a blood transfusion.

Mr Stredder added: “Across England, 830,000 people gave blood in 2018.

“This year, we are asking residents in Greater Manchester make a resolution that makes you feel amazing and saves lives.

“We know lots of people often make a new year’s resolution to give blood, but many don’t keep it.

“We need those who have taken the first step and registered to give blood to keep that resolution and make an appointment to donate at either of our Manchester Donor Centres.

“There are blood donation sessions held across the area regularly, but the donor centre is likely to have more appointments available in the mornings, evenings and at weekends.”

More than 200,000 new donors are needed to give blood every year across England to replace those who can no longer donate regularly due to things like ill health, foreign travel or pregnancy.

It is quick and easy to make, view and change appointments by calling 0300 123 23 23, using the GiveBlood app, or going online at www.blood.co.uk

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