Irish Blood Transfusion Service has progressive gender recognition

So the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has a lifetime ban on any man who has ever had sex with another man.

However that then raises a interesting question, how does one define a man or woman? Currently Ireland mostly uses the gender recorded on someone's birth cert, which may not match their actual gender. As of March 2013, there is no way to change the birth cert, and there have been many court cases on this issue.

The IBTS seems to use "the gender he/she says he/she is". i.e. they don't seem to use any birth certs or passports. This is a very progressive offical policy.


So wondering what the IBTS's policy is, I emailed them (on 14th March 2013):


I know that the IBTS has a lifetime ban on men who have sex with men
(MSM), but I'm curious how the IBTS defines "man", especially when it
comes to people who are transsexual (aka 'trans'). e.g. Does a trans
woman count as a woman or a man to the IBTS?

If (say) a trans woman wished to donate blood, and had sex with a man,
would that fall under the IBTS rules banning MSM?

What's the rules the IBTS uses about gender recognition? What are the
rules you use to categorise people's gender? Passport? Birth Cert? etc.?

Thanks for any information.

Then I got this reply (22nd March 2013):

Dear Rory
Thank you for your query.
The IBTS' position is that a person is the gender he/she says he/she is.

An assessment of the person's eligibility to donate will include
consideration of sexual risk factors as his/her former gender and
his/her current gender.  Other considerations will also include whether
the donor required a blood transfusion and what his/her haemoglobin (Hb)
currently is. The minimum Hb requirement for a male is 1 g/dl higher
than that for a female.  The Hb required is that of the donor's current
I trust that this answers your query.
With best wishes
Dr Ellen McSweeney
Consultant Haematologist
National Blood Centre
0 353 (0) 1 4322806 (direct)

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