According to new NHS figures, the number of men giving blood has fallen by almost a quarter in the last five years – by 24.8% since 2014. Meanwhile, the number of women giving blood has dropped by 6%. These figures follow the pattern in long-term decrease over the past 15 years.
While women make up two thirds of current blood donors, it is men who are more likely to be able to give blood – due to typically higher iron levels. As a result, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is now appealing for new male donors near its 23 permanent centres across the country, as well as at community-based venues. Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHSBT, said: “We need more new male donors to address the worrying long-term decline in male donors”
Currently analysing donor recruitment trends to understand the reasons for the decline, NHSBT have also suggested that women are more receptive to social media appeals than men, so are more likely to be encouraged to make donations after viewing or interacting these. In order to ensure the service maintains a safe supply, NHSBT are re-evaluating ways in which they can recruit more male donors.
De-bunking common misconceptions surrounding giving blood may well help to remedy the falling number of donors. For example:
- Contrary to what 20% of people surveyed by NHSBT believed, blood donors can have tattoos and piercings – as long as at least four months have passed since the date of the tattoo or piercing.
- The average adult has around 10 pints of blood in their body. Though one blood donation takes roughly one pint of this, the body works quickly and the blood you’ve donated is usually replenished within 24 hours.
- There are no restrictions for vegetarian and vegan donors, though 3% of people surveyed thought that the typically lower iron levels in a meat-free diet would affect eligibility to donate.
Find out more about your eligibility to give blood on the NHSBT website.
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