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Red Cross Asks Male Donors If They Are Pregnant

The organizations said it 'understands that selecting either male or female may not align with how some individuals identify'

The American Red Cross added “Are you pregnant?” to the list of screening questions asked of donors, regardless of the person’s gender.

The organization aims to be more inclusive by prioritizing gender neutrality while determining blood donor eligibility. 

Donors are required to fill out the Red Cross’s “RapidPass” – an online questionnaire that gathers information like name and age. Donors who select “male” as their gender are subsequently asked if they are pregnant and if they have ever been pregnant.

The RapidPass includes a warning that “persons” who are pregnant can not donate blood, reports National Review

While the Red Cross notes there are “gender-specific donation eligibility criteria, such as height to weight ratio for certain donation types and iron levels,” donors do not need to tell staff if they identify as transgender.

There are no donor eligibility criteria related to being transgender,” the organization notes on its website. “Donors can report the gender with which they identify at the time of donation.”

“There are no donor eligibility criteria related to being non-binary or gender non-confirming,” the Red Cross adds. “The Red Cross values all potential blood donors and understands that selecting either male or female may not align with how some individuals identify. The Red Cross also knows that there is a difference between biological sex and gender.”

The American Red Cross provides 40 percent of the blood supply and collects, tests, and distributes 5 million units of blood each year. The organization was founded in 1881 and received a congressional charter in 1900. The nationwide civilian blood donation program was launched in the 1940s.

Adopting a gender-neutral screening process is part of the Red Cross’s ongoing effort to embrace the LGBTQ community. On Aug. 7, the organization officially ended its abstinence requirement for gay and bisexual men.

In the 1980s, the Red Cross made men who have sex with other men eligible to donate in hopes of minimizing the risk of AIDS, HIV, hepatitis or other bloodborne diseases. The rule was later reduced to a one-year deferral period in December of 2015 following a ruling from the Food and Drug Administration. The policy was further reduced to an abstinence period of 90 days prior to donating in April of 2020.

The Red Cross now defers donors who report having a new sexual partner, who have had more than one sexual partner in the past three months, and who had anal sex in the three months prior to donating. 

On Jan. 11, 2022, the Red Cross declared its first-ever national blood crisis amid its most significant shortage in donations in over a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions caused a 10 percent decline in donations, leading to a need for all blood types. As of 2023, the shortage has stabilized.

The Red Cross aims to collect 12,000 blood and about 3,000 platelet donations every day to meet the need of 2,500 hospitals across the country.

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