Could you become a platelet donor?
Half as many men became blood donors as women last January, despite their blood being more effective for treating certain patients
While almost 14,000 women registered in January 2018 and went on to become blood donors, just over 6,000 men did the same. That’s why we’re asking for more men to make giving blood a personal goal in 2019.
Of course, donors of every gender are welcome and encouraged to give blood. However, during pregnancy, women often make new antibodies, which can make it harder to match their blood with a patient’s. Men’s blood may contain fewer antibodies against red and white blood cells, which means it can be used for creating better matched blood products to treat patients – such as platelets for cancer patients and allogeneic serum drops for people with dry eye conditions.
Our director of blood donation, Mike Stredder, says, “We’re incredibly grateful to all our female donors, who are vital in providing life-saving blood to those in need. But we need men to catch up with recent recruitment because their blood can have different characteristics which can make it important in certain situations.”
He adds, “It’s more likely that we can use men’s blood to stop bleeding after injury or surgery. A recent study has shown that fewer men are scared of donating blood than women, so I would appeal to them to step up and be part of an already amazing group of people who have kept their resolution to give blood.”
Martin Culley, a podiatrist from Liverpool, has been giving blood for almost 30 years and recently became a platelet donor. In October 2011, the 49-year-old found out just how vital his donations were when his son, Tom, was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“Tom received the most wonderful care and during his treatment he had numerous blood and platelet transfusions. I can’t thank people enough for giving blood and helping my boy through his treatment and recovery.”
Tom is now a healthy 9-year-old who is proud of his dad for donating blood to help other people who find themselves in a similar situation.
Martin says, “I have been a blood donor since 1989 and have recently converted to donating platelets. I’m acutely aware of just how important blood donation is in saving people's lives. I've certainly no intention of stopping just yet. I would encourage everyone, especially men, to give blood as I’ve seen first-hand how important it is.”