Maggie De Block, the Social Affairs and Health Minister, is looking into whether it is possible to lift the life-long ban on bi and homosexuals giving blood. This is based on new scientific research, the Minister revealed in a press release on Friday.
Minister De Block, scientists, transfusion establishments, ethics and sociology professors and representatives for gay rights movements spoke about their findings and opinions on the subject during a round table meeting. The Minister hopes to make a decision before the end on the summer.
“Scientific progress and long social discussions are a good enough reason to look into the existing legislation, and whether it can be changed”, the Minister explained. Also, the European Court of Human Rights made a ruling in spring 2015. This ruling stated that bi and homosexuals can be banned from giving blood, if there is a scientific basis for it.
Men who have sexual relations with other men are currently banned from giving blood.
“The challenge is finding a balance between the two: on one side, the increased risk of transmitting infectious diseases, which is negligible but unpredictable, and on the other, the desire to accommodate citizens who want to give blood in a responsible manner; By doing this, they provide a precious contribution to society”, the Minister’s cabinet said.