A VITAL appeal begins today urging more men in Bradford to start donating blood this year due to an imbalance in the gender of new donors.
During 2019, only 43 per cent of new donors in Bradford were men. Figures show that until the end of November, 694 women started donating blood in the city, but only 531 men. This reflects a wider national trend.
This is a concern because men have higher iron levels, and only men’s blood can be used for some transfusions and products. Without more men giving blood, blood stocks will come under increasing pressure.
Throughout January, NHS Blood and Transplant is running a national campaign encouraging ordinary men to become extraordinary by donating blood, and Bradford is one of the target areas for new male donors. NHSBT is aiming for 48 per cent of all new donors in Bradford to be male during 2020.
Mike Stredder, Head of Donor Recruitment for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “All our donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in Bradford during the New Year.
“Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don’t have enough new male donors coming forward. This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it’s about getting the right gender mix.
“If you can’t find an appointment right away don’t worry – your blood will do extraordinary things if you donate in a few weeks instead.”
Men are valuable donors for two reasons. Firstly, men have higher iron levels. Each time they try and donate, they’re less likely to be deferred for low haemoglobin levels. That helps maintain a strong donorbase, which is particularly crucial for people who need hundreds of even thousands of transfusions over their lifetime.
And secondly, women can produce antibodies during pregnancy, even during short pregnancies they don’t even know about. Antibodies are part of the body’s defence system and make transfusions more difficult. This means men’s blood is only used for some specialist transfusions and blood products, complete blood transfusions in newborn babies, and also for plasma, which is used for people who’ve had massive blood loss.
NHSBT also gets 93 per cent of its platelets from male donors – they are mostly given to cancer patients to cut internal bleeding.
The best place to start donating is Bradford Donor Centre in Manor Row, which is open up to six days a week.
Become a blood donor at blood.co.uk