News & Events
Bloodworks Northwest’s mission supports everyone in our community, saving lives every day.
Since the mid-80s, men who have had sex with men (MSM) have been ineligible to donate blood based on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy. The deferral changed to one year beginning in 2015 and on April 2nd 2020 the FDA changed its guidelines from a 1-year deferral to a 3-month deferral. This means men who have not had sexual contact with another man in the past 3 months can be eligible to donate blood, but this change still leaves many who want to donate blood unable to do so.
Bloodworks and its LGBTQ community partners continue to urge the FDA to change their MSM donation deferral based on testing reliability and the latest medical science to ensure the continued safety of the community blood supply.
We’ve been active supporters of changing the MSM deferral for over a decade: publicly, in the media, and in regulatory and medical policy. We actively pursue equity in our provision of Continuing Medical Education for area physicians, including LGBT health training to address disparities. We have longstanding partnerships with outstanding organizations, including the GSBA, Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, and the Q Center in Portland. We regularly host allied blood drives and was the first U.S. blood center to participate in Pride events.
Every day, Bloodworks provides blood to people at 100 Pacific Northwest hospitals. We are proud to join healthcare partners from Swedish Hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Virginia Mason, Cambia Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in supporting year-round health equity and inclusion for all.
Our pursuit of equitable, science-based eligibility
Bloodworks & its LGBTQ community partners believe in creating an equal opportunity for everyone to save lives. If you can’t donate blood, there are other inclusive ways to support patients in our community.
- Join our mailing list: stay connected, get involved
- Donate blood for research: FDA MSM deferral does not apply
- Give a financial gift: we’re looking for community partners to sponsor change
- Volunteer time: monitor and care for donors post-donation
Advocacy In The News:
UPDATE: As of July 15, 2020, Bloodworks implemented new FDA blood donor eligibility guidance (April 2, 2020 Statement) supported by studies and epidemiologic data. The changes affect several blood donation criteria, such as travel, exposure risks and medications resulting in revised deferral periods for men who have sex with men (MSM); Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD or mad cow disease), tattoos/piercings, travel to malarial endemic areas, and others. If you were deferred in the past, please contact us at 800-398-7888 to determine your eligibility according to the new criteria. Read about the updates here. We applaud the FDA’s important step toward increasing opportunity to save lives and look forward to welcoming more people to join our team of lifesavers.