Gay men in a monogamous relationship can donate blood from September
Men in a monogamous same-sex relationship will be allowed to donate blood in the Netherlands from September 1, 2021, the Dutch government has announced.
Strict blood donation rules for gay men in the Netherlands
For years, gay men in countries around the world have been prevented from being able to donate blood because of the perceived increased risk of them carrying blood-borne infections. Not too long ago, the Netherlands made an exception for men who hadn’t been in a sexual relationship for at least one year - this was reduced to four months in 2019.
But, following research conducted by blood bank Sanquin, the government has decided to expand the donor opportunities for men in the Netherlands. Sanguine concluded that the rule change wouldn’t endanger the safety of the blood supply, and will continue to investigate whether homosexual men without a steady partner could also become blood donors in the future.
Dutch gay rights organisations happy with the government’s decision
In 2019, COC - the Dutch gay rights organisation - expressed their disappointment in the government’s decision to continue to block blood donation opportunities for gay men. However, they have called this recent change a breakthrough: “We are fortunate that this painful form of distinction between gay, bisexual and heterosexual men is now coming to an end,” said chairman Astrid Oosenbrug.
Acting Minister for Medical Care, Tamara van Ark, said that the rule change was a step in the right direction: “I believe that people's behaviour should be decisive when donating blood and not someone's sexuality. It is therefore important that men who are in a steady relationship with another man can now also donate blood. We are not there yet, but this is a step in the right direction.”