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Keywords:

  • abnormal blood coagulation;
  • disability;
  • disorders of haemostasis;
  • homosexual or gay;
  • transgender;
  • unique blood donor

On occasion, there arise questions or situations involving blood-donor eligibility determination, which are not adequately addressed by the existing regulations and standards. In such instances, even the most experienced blood collector may be uncertain regarding the best course of action and unable to find adequate guidance in the standard blood banking references, regulations and literature. In order to examine this area in greater depth, the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) sponsored a short topic session on ‘Unique Donor Suitability Issues’ at their 2004 annual meeting. The invited speakers were four seasoned physician medical directors, with a combined experience of over 40 years in blood collection at both regional and national levels. They were tasked with identifying and researching problematic areas in donor-suitability determination, and suggesting an overall approach to dealing with such issues. They determined that three of the most problematic areas of eligibility evaluation included donors with: (1) disabilities, (2) disorders of haemostasis, and (3) trans-sexual, homosexual and other unusual gender-related issues. Each of these topics was presented in a 10-min lecture, followed by an open format consisting of audience participation and panel discussion by the speakers. The session was additionally enhanced by a representative of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who participated as a member of the audience. This review presents the contents of the short topic session in an expanded form.