Leeds woman joins appeal for blood

NHS Blood and Transplant is urgently calling for more men to start donating at Leeds donor centre and a Leeds woman, whose life was saved by blood donors is supporting the plea.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 4:11 pm

New figures show that only 46 per cent of the active blood donors at Leeds donor centre are male.

NHS Blood and Transplant is now asking men in Leeds to make an appointment to donate for the first time at the donor centre on The Headrow. NHSBT needs 1,160 new male donors at the donor centre over the next year.

People supporting National Blood Week include Louisa Barton from Headingley in Leeds.

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Louisa, 37, a Sister at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, has administered more than 100 transfusions to patients, and donated 25 times herself.

But she needed two units of blood herself after complications post delivery of her first child.

Louisa said: “I’d suffered significant blood loss – I felt weak, breathless and pale. The blood transfusion made me feel so much better. I will forever be thankful to everyone who donates blood.

“I hope more people register as new blood donors at Leeds Donor Centre this week, especially men, as there has been a recent decline in donations from men.”

Donors of every gender are welcome, and blood types are not gender specific. However there are two factors which make a strong number of male donors essential for a safe and efficient supply of blood to hospitals.

Men generally have higher iron levels than women, so they are more likely to be able to donate on any given day. Donors with low iron levels cannot donate to protect their own health.

And men also do not make new antibodies, which are part of the body’s defence system, during pregnancy. That makes it easier to match their blood to patients, and also easier to use their blood in products such as plasma and platelets, which are used for patients with cancer, major blood loss, burns injuries, and more.

NHS Blood and Transplant is currently analysing donor recruitment trends to understand the reasons for the decline and is now working on reaching more male potential donors.

Factors affecting male donor recruitment are thought to include the popularity of social media appeals, which are more popular with women.

Men are more likely to view their first donation as a personal achievement, whereas women are more likely to be motivated by altruism.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation, said: “We need more new male donors in Leeds to address the decline in men becoming blood donors. Blood donation saves lives.”