Canada OKs Gay Bone Marrow Donors
Canadian Blood Services has gotten a lot of heat for its unscientific ban of gay blood donors, particularly while blood is at a shortage. Gay men are permanently barred for life from donating blood, even if they have been tested and are in monogamous relationships.
It looks like Canadian Blood Services has been reviewing the science behind some of its policies, though, as a ban on gay men donating bone marrow and stem cells has now been lifted. The policy change is relatively minor, mind you, as bone marrow and stem cell transplants require nearly perfect genetic matches. Only 250 such operations are conducted per year.
Still, that means there are about 250 people annually who will be more likely to find a donor match to save or improve their lives. It’s also a positive step in recognition of the scientific and statistical literature, which has consistently shown that gay men pose no inherent risk, and that screening based on risky sexual practices instead of sexual orientation improves the safety for everyone.
It’s a step in the right direction. Not that I’m too keen on undergoing a painful bone marrow extraction operation right now or anything…