Written Answers. - Irish Blood Transfusion Service.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

108 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children his proposals in regard to accepting donations of blood from donors with hereditary hemochromatosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17258/03]

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) operates under the guidelines issued by the Council of Europe regarding the criteria for the selection of donors. Donors must be voluntary and non-remunerated and fulfil established criteria on the day they attend the clinic to donate. In general they must be in good health and have a clear medical history.

I have been informed by the IBTS that persons who are carriers of the haemochromatosis gene, but who do not themselves have the condition, are accepted as blood donors. However, individuals with the disease are currently deferred.

I have been assured that the IBTS are working closely with the Irish Haemochromatosis Society in monitoring developments in this field and if it becomes appropriate to accept donations from persons with haemochromatosis then the IBTS will respond to this development.