Make an Appointment

949-824-2662

(Irvine)


714-456-5433

(Orange)

LGBTQ+ Donors

Our staff is committed to being sensitive to the needs of all potential blood donors.

We believe that every potential blood donor should be treated with fairness, equality and respect. Our top priority is the safety of both our volunteer blood donors and our patients into whom blood products are transfused.

Blood products represent a potential risk for transmission of blood-borne pathogens. The safety of the blood supply relies on accurate donor histories and medically supported donor deferral criteria.

Blood donor eligibility

To donate blood for transfusion, prospective blood donors must meet FDA-mandated donor eligibility criteria.

These established eligibility criteria must be followed by all U.S. blood collection centers during the donor screening process.

Donation criteria and questions on the health history questionnaire are designed to ensure that the blood collection process is as safe as possible for the donors as well as for the recipients of blood. Learn more about blood donation eligibility ›

Health history screening

During the pre-donation health history screening, we use a questionnaire developed by the blood industry’s professional organization, AABB, and approved by the FDA to assess an individual’s health history. Health history questions are based on past and current behavior risks (for example, travel, medication, sexual activity, etc).

Sexual activity questions are based on specific behaviors, not on sexual orientation. The terms, “have sexual contact with” and “sex” are used in some of the questions, and apply to any sexual activities (vaginal, oral or anal), regardless of whether a condom was used.

Men who have sex with men (MSM)

The FDA guidance “Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products” states:

“Defer for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.”

All U.S. blood collection organizations must follow this federal requirement.

Based on several years of research and recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the FDA’s decision to change the blood donation policy for men who have had sex with other men (MSM) from a lifetime deferral to 12-month deferral is consistent with other selection criteria that are used to safeguard the blood supply from equivalent risks.

A donor whose last MSM contact was greater than 12 months ago may now be eligible to donate blood. Learn more about MSM blood donation criteria and blood donation eligibility ›

Women who have sex with women

There is no deferral for a woman who has had sex with another woman, and the individual may be eligible to donate blood. Learn more about blood donation eligibility ›

Transgender donors

The FDA revised guidance states, “In the context of the donor history questionnaire, FDA recommends that male or female gender be taken to be self-identified and self-reported.”

This change allows blood donors to register with the gender in which they identify. There is no deferral associated with being transgender, and eligibility will be based upon the criteria associated with the gender the donor has reported. View additional blood donation eligibility criteria ›

Our staff members are required to verbally confirm demographic information, including gender, with all presenting donors. This step helps ensure donor safety and accuracy of records. If our records have the incorrect gender, presenting donors may ask staff members to make the change upon registration. Individuals do not need to tell staff that they are transgender.

Intersex donors

The FDA revised guidance states, “In the context of the donor history questionnaire, FDA recommends that male or female gender be taken to be self-identified and self-reported.”

The FDA requires us to have donors select either male or female. Individuals do not need to tell staff that they are intersex.

Individuals who identify as gender non-conforming, genderqueer, gender fluid, agender or non-binary

We value all potential blood donors and understand that selecting either male or female may not align with how some individuals identify. We also know that there is a difference between biological sex and gender.

The FDA revised guidance states, “In the context of the donor history questionnaire, FDA recommends that male or female gender be taken to be self-identified and self-reported.”

The FDA requires that donors select either male or female.

Asexual donors

Individuals who do not have sex with another person may be eligible to donate blood. Learn more about blood donation eligibility ›

Frequently asked questions

If I have been deferred for MSM, when will I be able to donate blood?

Individuals who have been deferred for MSM in the past may initiate donor reinstatement by contacting the UCI Blood Donor Center at ibleedblue@uci.edu.

Can I show up and donate blood if I have been deferred for MSM?

No. Individuals will need to email the UCI Blood Donor Center at ibleedblue@uci.edu to confirm their eligibility before coming in to donate.

I am in an MSM monogamous relationship, can I donate blood?

No. The FDA revised guidance states, “Defer for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.” All U.S. blood collection organizations must follow this federal requirement.

I am a man who has sex with another man; do I really have to be celibate for 12 months before giving blood?

Yes. The FDA revised guidance states, “Defer for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.” All U.S. blood collection organizations must follow this federal requirement.

I am a man who has not had sex with another man in more than 12 months, can I donate blood?

Men who have not had sex with another man in more than 12 months are not deferred by the MSM guidance and may be eligible to donate blood. If an individual has been previously deferred from donating blood for MSM, that individual will need to first request to be reinstated by contacting the UCI Blood Donor Center at ibleedblue@uci.edu.

I am a trans-man, and I have been eligible to donate because my assigned sex at birth was female. However, I have had sex with another man. Can I donate blood?

Individuals who identify as male and have had sex with another man within the past 12 months will be deferred under the MSM policy. Learn more about MSM blood donation criteria. Further questions may be directed to ibleedblue@uci.edu.

My assigned sex at birth was male and was deemed ineligible to donate due to male-sex-with-male (MSM). I now identify as a trans-woman, can I donate blood?

Individuals who identify as female and have sex with a man may be eligible to donate blood if all other blood donation eligibility criteria are applicable.

If an individual was previously deferred from donating blood due to MSM, that person will need to contact the UCI Blood Donor Center at ibleedblue@uci.edu to confirm eligibility before coming in to donate.

Don’t you test every unit of blood?

Yes. UCI Health tests each unit of donated blood for a number of infectious diseases.

While testing has greatly improved, it is not 100 percent effective at detecting infectious diseases in donors with very early infection.

The FDA selected the 12-month deferral to provide adequate time for the detection of infectious markers.

Where can I learn more about MSM deferrals?

View our resources page for links to advocacy organizations and more information about MSM deferrals.

Make an Appointment

949-824-2662

(Irvine)


714-456-5433

(Orange)