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Lancashire needs more male blood donors

a man giving blood

6:40am 10th January 2019
(Updated 6:43am 10th January 2019)

There's a call for more men to donate blood in Lancashire.

It's after figures show that more women than men are signing up to become donors. In January 2018, 295 women across Lancashire signed up - compared to 133 men.

Is male/female blood different?

Yes - it is.

You might have the same blood groups, but male blood contains fewer antibodies against red and white blood cells (women usually make these when pregnant), and male blood generally have higher iron levels.

That means their blood would be more useful for products such as platelets and allogenic serum drops to treat people with dry eye conditions.

NHS Blood and Transplant is now working on reaching more male potential donors.

Factors affecting male donor recruitment are thought to include the recent greater use of social media campaigns, which are more popular with women.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

"It's vital that more men start donating blood because their blood is used to provide life-saving products like plasma and platelets - to save victims of burns, car crashes and treat to patients with cancer.

"We're incredibly grateful to all our female donors in Lancaster who are vital in providing lifesaving 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.

"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."

2BR have had some brilliant testimonies from both men and women who've donated, that we wanted to share with you...

Katie's reason:

"I've donated blood since I was 18 and do it every 16 weeks when I'm allowed. It's quick and painless.

"I do it because if I needed blood I'd expect it to be there, if nobody gave it then it wouldn't be available!"

Debra's reason:

"I am a regular donor since the age of 18 and have only stopped whilst pregnant /after having babies and when I have had piercings/tattoos.

"It is so quick and easy, last time I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

"Now I have donated over 60 times and will continue to donate as long as I am able to."

Kara's reason:

"I first signed up after a friend of mine was diagnosed with leukaemia, and they told me about how hard it was to find suitable blood for their blood group.

"I went to donate the first time a month after I turned 17, and the staff were so welcoming, it felt almost homely, rather than clinical.

"Afterwards, I got a text saying my blood was used in Yorkshire, which was a lovely feeling. It's very satisfying knowing where and when your blood has helped to save a life. Next time I donate will be my 5th time!"


Johnny's reason: 

"I gave blood on Monday afternoon at Blackburn Rovers ground. The reason I give blood is because it's something that's always needed and will save a life. I have friends and family that have need blood transfusions and it's good to know it's there for myself if I should ever need it.

"I always find it to be a friendly experience and it takes around an hour from start to finish. I book an appointment online, show up, fill a quick questionnaire in and drink a pint of water. They call my name and do a finger prick to test iron levels. I soon get seated in the new lean back chairs. Giving blood takes a few minutes then once they have a pint they pop me a plaster on and I have a sit down for 15 minutes and a brew and a biscuit.  

"It's a positive experience and you feel like you're giving something back."

Rachel's reason:

"I've been donating blood regularly for a few reasons. Main one is that several of my family have relied on donations when they've been very ill and also that I have a rare blood type . If an hour of my time means someone gets the chance of recovery it's well worth it.

"The booking system on the app is so simple and there's a huge choice of times and locations to donate. I go to Ewood Park - it's actually quite relaxing looking out over the pitch while watching TV or listening to the radio."

"The staff are lovely and help with absolutely any query or concern from booking in to the after care tea and biscuits. And it doesn't hurt at all!"

Lindsay's reason:

"I have donated blood since I was (I think) 18 years old (I'm now 43). There was a gap between (when I had my child) but returned back to donating not long after.

"I give blood because I can! I have never had any problems during or after donations. And it certainly doesn't hurt! Maybe a slight bruise and on one occasion my vein decided not to play ball half way through which was classed as a failed donation but still the blood that had been taken was used for research purposes. As a female I can donate every 16 weeks (men are every 12 weeks). I'd also love to be able to donate platelets (this can be done more regularly) but unfortunately I'm incompatible.

"All of the staff are lovely and very well experienced and not forgetting the brew and biccies at the end as a reward!

"I combine my donation with a shopping trip to Manchester with my friend. We both donate.

"I've even managed to persuade my husband to donate and it turned out he has a very rare blood group - B Negative. I do this, of course, for others but I also get a great deal of satisfaction from knowing I've helped potentially saved lives, especially when a few days after donation, you receive a text confirming where it has been sent i.e. Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

"I donate for the 49th time next week."

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