Report: Lifting Blood Ban Could Add 219,000 Pints Yearly

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com June 03 2010 7:55 AM ET

A new report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that lifting the ban on gay male blood and organ donors could add 219,000 pints to the nation’s blood supply each year, and make more than 900 organs available for donation. The report provides the first published estimates of the impact of lifting the ban enforced by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to the report, the added 219,000 pints of blood would increase the nation’s blood supply by 1.4%, while the additional 900 organ donations would represent and increase of 2.9%.

A statement that accompanied the report said, “Both the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks have concluded that the current FDA ban on MSM blood donation is medically and scientifically unwarranted. Study co-author and Williams Distinguished Scholar Gary Gates states that, ‘Lifting restrictions on blood and organ donation by MSM would help to alleviate frequent blood shortages in the U.S. and shorten the organ donation waiting list that currently exceeds 100,000
individuals.’”

The FDA is scheduled to hold hearing on the blood ban on next Thursday and Friday.