Ban on gay men donating blood formally lifted in North

Minister Michelle O’Neill urges every donor to fully comply with blood donation rules

As Northern Ireland’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is formally lifted today, Minister for Health Michelle O’Neill has urged all donors to fully comply with donor rules.

The change of legislation, which was announced in early June by the Sinn Féin Minister, will bring the law in the North into line with England, Scotland and Wales.

The decision means men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than 12 months ago will be free to donate blood if they meet the other donor selection criteria.

The change is being implemented by the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service from today. It means the criteria will be in line with other groups who must defer giving blood for 12 months due to infection risks associated with sexual behaviour.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times