Blood, Platelet & Marrow Donation. Women sidelined?

(42 Posts)
IsmellSwell Wed 23-Mar-16 18:29:12

Is saying that 'Caucasian women are no longer allowed to become marrow donors being sexist in anyway?
www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/news-and-media/news-articles/news_2016_03_22.asp

This is in addition to some female blood donors (of particular blood groups) also being told their services are 'no longer required' by NHS blood transfusion services, but they still require men of that blood group. hmm

Why is it, when there's a surplus of anything, or if they want to cut back on a certain group, it is nearly always WOMEN who seem to be affected?

I've heard that some see their policies as bordering on homophobic (until recently wouldn't take blood from any gay man, regardless of his history) but I hadn't realized they were sexist as well.

What do you think?

Can't help thinking that women are seen as second class citizens.

OnceMoreIntoTheBleach Wed 23-Mar-16 18:40:49

There is clearly a biological rationale for it. The article states that male donors are 8 times more likely to be a match than female donors, and that funding is limited, plus they already have an abundance of female donors, so I don't see a problem in them streamlining their recruitment to redress the balance according to the need hmm

Same with blood donors - most likely there is a difference in the blood they receive, maybe because women are more prone to anaemia or something.

I really think it is ott to assume discrimination here!

IsmellSwell Wed 23-Mar-16 18:45:40

Yes maybe.
But lately it seems that every other article'is about women being told that their services are 'no longer required'

IsmellSwell Wed 23-Mar-16 18:49:55

It IS a feminist issue
This is interesting

info.uwe.ac.uk/news/UWENews/news.aspx?id=2795

Snoopadoop Wed 23-Mar-16 18:50:05

I'm with bleach. This will be for clinical and funding reasons. Not because they want to discriminate. I think you've got a bit carried away here.

IsmellSwell Wed 23-Mar-16 18:52:50

“Our view is that the UK male preference policy for plasma is discriminatory, regarding all women as risky plasma donors regardless of their age, reproductive history or antibody status. The policy was implemented without public discussion or consultations, and there is a continuing lack of public information about the policy. It also raises questions about the ethics of donation and the information given to women about becoming blood donors.

“Men and women are viewed as very different kinds of donors within transfusion science. Women are not routinely screened or tested for their antibody status, contrasting with other Western countries which redirects rather than discards female plasma, or screens women donors for their pregnancy history.”

I knew I'd find it eventually. hmm

VikingVolva Wed 23-Mar-16 18:53:26

That's because it is no longer required - they have enough from that demographic (over 60% female, disproportionately white).

But if you read the rest if the article, you can see the medical (epidemiological) requirement for the changes.

Now, I don't know the underlying science for why there is a biological difference, or the current registered potential donor demographics, but it's clear that the entire reasoning behind this change is to increase the numbers of successful matches. And I agree with that aim.

After all, they are now opening it to younger people than before, and telling over 40s (of both sexes) that they are no longer required either.

VikingVolva Wed 23-Mar-16 18:54:32

Your first link is all about BBMR. Nothing to do with plasma.

IsmellSwell Wed 23-Mar-16 18:54:42

Discrimination is a strong word, I admit.(possibly the wrong word)
But there is still something not quite right about the whole process.
I think it is worth discussing.

OnceMoreIntoTheBleach Wed 23-Mar-16 18:56:11

The nhs probably doesn't have the funding for the screening mentioned in other countries. I do think calling this a feminist issue is daft.

Snoopadoop Wed 23-Mar-16 19:01:28

What is not right about the process then? You think something is not right, what exactly?

Do you want them to start using female plasma and put people at risk because of this antibody (I've not red your whole link BTW). You want them at expensive to eat every sample and only discard the ones free of the antibody. It's only the plasma, they are still welcoming women donors in the blood donor service. They are still using other components of the blood just not the plasma. I doubt most women would care that the plasma is discarded when the rest is still benefiting patients.

Snoopadoop Wed 23-Mar-16 19:02:16

Test the sample, not eat. FGS!

IsmellSwell Wed 23-Mar-16 19:26:15

What is not right about the process then? You think something is not right, what exactly?

Professor Kent's paper, co-authored by Anne-Maree Farrell, is entitled Risky Bodies in the Plasma Bioeconomy: A Feminist Analysis and has just been published by Body & Society.

The paper focuses on current policy and practice in the UK, and involved visits to a major blood processing facility and a plasma products manufacturer, and interviews with transfusion specialists and representatives of patients groups. It is part of a larger ESRC funded project on 'Risk, safety and consent in the UK blood services'.

Professor Kent continues, “The paper also looked at whether the potential risks of TRALI had been prioritised over potential benefits of using female plasma, such as claims that cardiac patients infused with female plasma had better outcomes.

NameAgeLocation Wed 23-Mar-16 19:31:19

I think it's outrageous that for more than 10 years they have been routinely discarding (parts of) donations from a particular group without ever letting that group know until now. That's outrageously disrespectful and shows disdain for the importance of the donors' time.

I have received a blood tranfusion and will always be grateful to donors for their efforts.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 23-Mar-16 19:33:31

It's a funding issue. They have limited funds so they have to concentrate on the group who are more likely to be a match. It's a medical reason behind it.

Women can still join Anthony Nolan register. I'm on it and have matched someone so worthwhile to do.

Are you registered OP?

scaevola Wed 23-Mar-16 19:41:47

"The paper also looked at whether the potential risks of TRALI had been prioritised over potential benefits of using female plasma, such as claims that cardiac patients infused with female plasma had better outcomes."

That's bad science reporting (or perhaps just quote with insufficient context)

a) how did it examine the risks? How did it quantify the benefits? what are the key features of the methodology ? What are the conclusions, and how much confidence did the authors have in them?
b) who is claiming that female plasma leads to better outcomes, and on what basis? Again, what is the methodology, and have these claims been backed up by (replicable) studies?

WhoKnowsWhereTheChocolateGoes Wed 23-Mar-16 19:46:00

I don't have a problem with this at all (either the plasma or the bone marrow register). They need to get the best clinical outcomes while using their funding responsibly, I'd rather my plasma was discarded if not needed than have them waste money screening and sorting it. You know as a blood donor that a) your blood might not get used and b) you can't know what it gets used for. I'd also rather they prioritised bone marrow screening on the groups that are most likely to be successful donors.

Snoopadoop Wed 23-Mar-16 20:48:51

I asked you. Not Professor Kent. ;)

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 24-Mar-16 08:30:24

OP in relation to bone marrow your opening post is a distortion of the facts.

In relation to plasma, others have pointed out the clinical reasons.

I see Professor Kent is a sociologist and whilst Ann Maree Farell has a string of letters after her name not one is for a degree in a scientific or medical discipline. I suppose however if you're getting funding to write a "feminist analysis" you might be set on finding discrimination where none exists.

MatildaBeetham Thu 24-Mar-16 08:45:47

Julie Kent is a professor of the sociology of health technology. She's also a bioethics expert. Medical sociology is an established and respected discipline.

The paper isn't claiming to be about clinical issues, it's about the social factors that may or may not influence how donated tissue is dealt with. The full text is available here (I found it very swiftly following the links provided by the OP).

scaevola Thu 24-Mar-16 08:52:46

"The policy was implemented without public discussion or consultations, and there is a continuing lack of public information about the policy."

That's a totally normal feature of evidence based policy making. And databases such as medline can be readily accessed by the public.

And they haven't been discarding anything, other than products still not used by their expiry date. The most useful products will to be used first, depending on blood group, rhesus status etc. How useful it is for a particular is determined according to evidence of safety and clinical effectiveness.

Donors know that their specific donation might not be used, depending on demand. They also know their donation might be used whole, or separated, or used for research not in patients. Or might be discarded, if it isn't used before its expiry date. Donors are encouraged to read the information leaflet every time they donate (indeed you have to sign you have done so for the parts relating informed consent).

Movingonmymind Thu 24-Mar-16 08:55:46

Their rationale seems perfectly reasonable to me. However, women of any age are often generally excluded from clinical trials for fear of accidentally causing harm to an unborn foetus. This brings into question the efficacy of many drug treatments for women- tested on men, they have been presumed to be equally effective for women. That is a feminist issue.

chantico Thu 24-Mar-16 09:05:38

Caucasian women can still be bone marrow donors. If on a register, you may be called to donate.

There is more than one bone marrow register in UK. You could register for one of the others, of not already registered.

This one (on which I am registered btw) has a superfluity of Caucasian women (over 60% of the register) even though the number of matches per registered person of that background is the lowest.

They need more, particularly other ethnicity, people to register, and are happy to continue to take male Caucasian registrations (as they are under-represented).

If you flipped the groups around, would you still have the same objections if white men were over represented and new registrations suspended until they had a mix that supported treatments required for the healthcare needs of the total society?

If there is a sociology question here, isn't it to examine why women are more likely to register?

MatildaBeetham Thu 24-Mar-16 09:22:17

This brings into question the efficacy of many drug treatments for women- tested on men, they have been presumed to be equally effective for women. That is a feminist issue.

I agree completely with this.

YesterdayOnceMore Thu 24-Mar-16 09:37:50

Why are men more likely to be a bone marrow match than women? Unless I missed it, that wasn't explained.

Has the NHS bone marrow service been turning away men or black, Asian or ethnicity donors because too many women have been signing up?

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