CTBC will introduce a new donor screening process on Monday, October 2nd, based on Individual Donor Assessment (IDA), not sexual or gender identity.

This comes at an important time as the region is currently experiencing a blood emergency with dangerously low levels of O+ and O- , and B-

CONNECTICUT — Connecticut Blood Center (CTBC) announced a blood emergency following a summer of low donor turnout.  Contributing to the shortage are the recent Labor Day holiday, back-to-school activities, and a prolonged 50% decrease in youth and first-time donors.  The region’s blood supply is well below the optimal 5-7 days and while all blood types are needed, types O+, O-, and B- are critically low.  And our community is not alone, blood shortages are happening across the country, with multiple centers urgently calling for blood donations.    

Amid this blood emergency, CTBC will soon be able to welcome new donors. On Monday, October 2nd, it will implement the new donor screen process that will focus on individual donor assessment.  This comes following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final guidance establishing a blood donor screening process based on Individual Donor Assessment, not sexual or gender identity.  Interested individuals can find detailed information regarding these changes at ctblood.org/ida

In preparation for this change, CTBC has completed the adoption of the donor history questionnaire, updated and validated computer systems regulated by the FDA, trained staff, and updated operational procedures.

“Connecticut Blood Center is pleased to enact on recent changes to the FDA policies regarding blood donation of gay and bisexual men,” said Jonathan DeCasanova, Account Manager for Connecticut Blood Center. “These scientifically-based changes allow us to accomplish our mission of saving lives through blood donation while also being more inclusive. We look forward to welcoming these new donors after a challenging summer of low donations.”

All U.S. blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must adhere to their donor eligibility policies. In 1983, the FDA instituted a lifetime deferral on blood donations for gay and bisexual men in order to reduce the chance of HIV in the blood supply at a time when testing was limited or non-existent. In 2015, the FDA revised this policy and moved to a 12-month deferral for men who have sex with men in response to comprehensive testing capabilities and data demonstrating safety in shortened deferral. This policy was revised again in 2020 to the current 3-month deferral.

The change is based on data from the “Assessing Donor Variability And New Concepts in Eligibility” (ADVANCE) Study, which sought to determine if different eligibility criteria could be used focusing on each donor’s individual risk behavior rather than their sexual orientation. The updated criteria reflects the scientific data gathered as part of the ADVANCE Study.

To make an appointment call 800.283.8385, visit ctblood.org.

CONNECTICUT BLOOD CENTER (CTBC) supplies blood and blood products to patients being cared for in over a dozen Connecticut hospitals. CTBC operates a hospital services blood storage depot from our Connecticut center so we can quickly and reliably get urgent or unexpected orders to local hospitals. CTBC is operated by the Rhode Island Blood Center, a part of the New York Blood Center Enterprises family with more than five decades of experience saving lives by ensuring a safe and plentiful blood supply to the patients and hospitals we serve. CTBC is also part of the National Marrow Donor Program, registering individuals throughout New England to become lifesaving stem cell donors for patients who need a transplant to survive.

NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER ENTERPRISES/NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER was founded in 1964, New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) is one of the largest nonprofit, independent, community blood centers in the world. Along with partner organizations Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), Community Blood Center of Kansas City (CBC), Connecticut Blood Center (CTBC), Memorial Blood Centers (MBC), Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), we collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve communities approaching 50 million people in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT), mid-Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD), Kansas City metropolitan area, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England. NYBCe delivers lifesaving blood products and services as well as clinical, medical, pharmaceutical, testing, and consultative services to over 600 hospitals and dozens of research organizations, academic institutions, and biomedical companies. Among other milestones, our Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute pioneered the Hepatitis B vaccine andpatented a solvent detergent plasma process, innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.