FDA Statement on Blood Donor Deferral Policy for Men Who Have Sex with Men

On December 21, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released final guidance regarding deferral criteria for men who have sex with men (MSM), changing its blood donation policy from an indefinite deferral to 12 months since the last sexual contact with another man.

To read the full FDA final guidance, visit FDA.gov.

Stanford Blood Center Policy

As an organizational member of America’s Blood Centers, Stanford Blood Center supports the recommendation to change the current indefinite deferral for MSM to a 12-month deferral as recommended in the recently released final guidance. As stated in a joint statement released in December 2015 by AABB, America’s Blood Centers, and American Red Cross, “This policy change aligns the MSM donor deferral period with those for other activities that may pose a similar risk of transfusion-transmissible infections.”

As an FDA-regulated and AABB-accredited organization, Stanford Blood Center will adhere to current policies, rules and regulations, as well as best practices in the industry. Maintaining a safe and available blood supply continues to be our highest priority; based on the best available scientific evidence, blood safety is not affected by this change.

Additional information about SBC’s current MSM deferral is available at http://bloodcenter.stanford.edu/donate/MSMDeferral.php

Next Steps

Although the final FDA guidance presents a pathway for those who currently are deferred from giving blood, it will take some time for blood centers, including Stanford Blood Center, to update donation database systems, modify processes and procedures, and train staff to implement these extensive changes. While an effective date for these policy changes will be determined soon, our current policy remains in place. We will keep the community informed as we take the necessary steps to implement this policy change.