Dartmouth Health Blood Donor Program guideline changes help increase donations, maintain safety

Graphic on a dark green background that shows a rainbow heart and the words "All blood is equal."
Photo courtesy of the Association for Blood Donor Professionals

By implementing the Donor Health History Questionnaire 4.0, we removed barriers to populations who want to give blood while maintaining safety protocols to protect blood donors and recipients.

Amber Grantham, Blood Donor Program donor relations specialist

Emergency blood donations are in short supply nationwide, with donations among Americans currently at a 20-year low. Blood donation is critically important from people of all blood types, genders, ethnicities and regions to ensure that there is an adequate supply of blood is available to people undergoing treatment of serious illness and following medical emergencies. However, until recently, some members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their sexual partners were barred from donating based on outdated science.

On February 19, Dartmouth Health’s Blood Donor Program implemented the Food and Drug Administration’s updated guidelines for blood donation. This change eliminates questions based on sexual orientation and gender and moves to an individual donor assessment. Now, donation eligibility is based on the individual, not sexual orientation or gender identity, so a person’s choice of sexual partner will no longer matter.

“The FDA’s change in policy is based on science and facts. We have learned a lot in the 40+ years since the AIDS epidemic began, and we know now that prohibiting people who want to give blood based on their sexuality and identity is not only discriminatory, it’s unnecessary to stemming the spread of HIV, and only hurts patients who need blood,” said Amber Grantham, donor relations specialist with the Blood Donor Program. “By implementing the Donor Health History Questionnaire 4.0, we removed barriers to populations who want to give blood while maintaining safety protocols to protect blood donors and recipients.”

Blood collected by the Blood Donor Program stays within the Dartmouth Health system, benefiting patients in New Hampshire in Vermont. To learn more about the program and make an appointment to donate, visit https://donateblood.d-h.org/. For more information on Dartmouth Health’s updated blood donation policy, visit https://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/blood-donor-program.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.