NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) are asking more men to donate blood, with Southampton being a new target area to increase donation numbers.
Only a third of blood donors nationally are male, with 44% of new donors being men in Southampton. NHSBT are aiming for 48% of Southampton’s donors to be male in 2020.
There are a number of reasons why male donors are in such high demand.
Men are able to donate more often than women as they have higher iron levels and don’t need to wait as long between donations. This means men can donate every 12 weeks compared to the 16 weeks that a woman will have to wait. This is important as almost 5000 donations are needed every day.
Men’s blood also contains fewer antibodies than women. People with weakened immune systems struggle to accept blood with antibodies as they attack the red and white blood cells. Fewer antibodies also mean that other blood products can be better matched – such as platelets that can be used to treat cancer patients.
Interim Director of Donor Experience, Mike Stredder, says,
We’re incredibly grateful to all our female donors, who are vital in providing life-saving 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.
NHSBT are also looking for more donations from BAME groups.