Donating blood-Is this ethical?

  1. Our local blood bank is crying out for donations. I normally don't donate blood because I'm not allowed. You see, the blood bank doesn't allow gay people to donate blood. I have been in a monogamous relationship for 5 years and I feel that it is just stupid for them to not allow me to donate blood.
    My question for you all: Would it be ethical for me to lie on the questionaire so that I could donate blood since I know that my blood is perfectly safe? They keep saying that they're desperate for more donations, so I think that I would be doing them a big favor my donating.
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   Tilleycs
    No, lying is NEVER ethical. Maybe you can do something else, like help post advertisements and get the word out about need for blood.
  4. by   Shamrock
    Hmmmm, I'd have to wonder if it is ever ethical to lie. I agree
    with your position though, why can't you donate, they screen
    everyone's blood. Who is to say that a heterosexual won't have
    hiv or whatever?
  5. by   Nurse Ratched
    Is that an automatic deferral? I know they ask about it on the questionnaire, but as I am a woman, it never occured to me to wonder.

    Twarlik, you've asked a great question. I'm not sure of the answer. I think we should be truthful on these things and possibly work to change a rule that we feel is unjust.

    I wonder about the statistics behind this rule.
  6. by   JMP
    I think the ethical part of this question is the right of the blood bank to ASK the question (regarding sexuality preferences). I DO NOT agree they should ask the question.

    I totally disagree that being gay would exclude someone from donating blood, I mean, people get HIV-AIDS from all kinds of things, including heterosexual relations. Don't they test the blood they collect?

    I am however speaking as a Canadian, whose government has just sanctioned gay and lesbian marriages. I am proud of our county for doing so.

    And for those wondering, no I am not gay.
    Last edit by JMP on Jun 11, '03
  7. by   karenG
    I wonder what grounds they have for turning you down?? you cant give blood here if you have had hepatitis but think thats the only restriction. I have never been asked- all they do is check I'm not anaemic!

    Karen
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    There are many exclusionary factors I don't get. My husband was in Saudi Arabia for military service a few years back and they won't take HIS blood, either. I mean, do they ask a hetero person how many partners she/he has had? Some of them bed-hop like bunnies and if you ask me, would put the blood supply MORE at risk than a monogomous gay person would ----I guess I don't get it.
  9. by   oramar
    Are you sure about that question? Is it still on their list of questions? I know 20 years ago they were asking questions about sexual preference. I thought they dropped the questions about sexual preference a few years ago. I read an article a while back which said that asking people questions about sex didn't work. People lie about sex to themselves and others so much that it is a waste of time. I have not be able to give blood in a while so I don't know what the policy is now.
  10. by   Ted
    I hope they still don't ask that question. . . .

  11. by   KRVRN
    I haven't donated for awhile, but as I recall they ask something to the effect of "have you had sex with a man in the last X amount of time" and have you had sex with a man who has had sex with another man in the last X amount of time"
  12. by   passing thru
    Last week I attended a local church meeting. After the meeting, during the social hour, an elderly couple commented they had just returned from their blood donations. I would guess they were both in their mid- seventies.

    As it turned out, the wife said she was a ten-gallon donor, and her husband exceeded 12 gallons.

    They have been married nearly 50 years. Did either of them cheat? I don't know.

    Let's say my little 4 week old grandson is going in for emergency open heart surgery.....which he did- - - 3 times in the first year.

    Let's say he is going to have 3-4 transfusions, - - - which he
    did.

    If I could choose, would I choose the blood donated by the
    elderly couple or from a gay man in a 5 year monogamous
    relationship?

    One thing I'd consider is:
    Yes the gay man states he is monogamous.
    How do I know his partner has been monogamous for 5 years?

    How do I know the elderly couple is sexually exclusive?

    The statistics for keeping the nations blood supply safe
    simply lean towards the couple.

    HIV death statistics are full of patients who said
    they were in monogamous relationships. I've certainly
    seen more than my share of dying gay spouses who contracted HIV
    in a relationship they thought was monogamous.

    It is heart wrenching.

    Two celebrities, Rock Hudson and Liberace, both told their
    significant others that they were monogamous. Both were in loooooooong relationships that turned out to be something
    other than what the celebrities professed.

    In some situations, ethics has to be sacrificed for what is
    perceived as
    or proven statistically as the benefit to the majority, the "common good."

    At my blood bank, that question is not asked.

    At the plasma centers
    where people go on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to donate their plasma for $20,
    yes, it is on the information sheet.
  13. by   Flynurse
    Originally posted by Shamrock
    Hmmmm, I'd have to wonder if it is ever ethical to lie. I agree
    with your position though, why can't you donate, they screen
    everyone's blood. Who is to say that a heterosexual won't have
    hiv or whatever?
    I was wondering the same thing. They screen everyone's blood just the same whether or not you are gay. That sounds a bit discriminating to me.
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    I volunteer for the Red Cross. Donate and work the cantina. The questions are now entered into a computer by an employee.
    It's still as KVRN said. They ask if you have had sex with a man who has had sex with a man on the last (year I think). Sub saharan Africa and other locations are on the list too. Funny a short vacation did not count nor does working with dialysis patients.

    Once a young woman stood up during her interview and yelled, "I'm a virgin and don't travel OK?"

    I don't think it would be an issue in the USA with gay women who have the lowest rate of HIV infection same as nuns.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Jun 11, '03

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