I propose to take Questions Nos. 1122, 1123 and 1195 together.
The remit of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is to provide a safe, reliable and robust blood service to the Irish health system. A major objective of the IBTS is to ensure that it always has the necessary programmes and procedures in place to protect both the recipients and the donors of blood and blood products. The IBTS constantly keeps all deferral policies under review to ensure the ongoing safety of blood and the products derived from it.
The IBTS lifted its lifelong ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood in January 2017, when the deferral policy was reduced to a period of one year following their last sexual encounter with a man.
The IBTS continues to keep this, and all of its deferral policies, under active review in the light of scientific evidence, emerging infections and international experience.
The IBTS advise that a review is underway which examines the risks associated with social behaviours that may result in a deferral from blood donation due to risks of transmission of infectious diseases. The review will consider the 12-month deferral currently in place for men that have sex with men. The option of introducing individual risk-based assessment for blood donors will also be considered as part of the review.