Assessing acceptability, understanding and effectiveness of alternative screening questions for current donors

This iterative mixed-methods study: 1) makes a novel contribution by assessing the impact on, and acceptance by, current whole blood and plasma donors, of asking donors their “sex assigned at birth” and their “current gender”; 2) extends research funded by the MSM Research Program by assessing the effectiveness of mitigating interventions to minimize donor discomfort regarding sexual risk behaviour questions; and 3) contributes new knowledge concerning current donors’ views on inclusion of appropriately screened gbMSM and trans individuals in apheresis plasma donation.
This project builds on results of two prior MSM Research Program studies and seeks to contribute to an evidence-based and incremental approach to evolution of more inclusive donor policies related to gbMSM and trans populations. Currently, the system of identifying donors is purely binary (choice of male or female). One way to move away from a binary system and allow trans people and people on the gender spectrum to self-identify as they wish is to implement a two-step system, where donors are asked about their sex as determined at birth, and about their current gender (with several choices, such as man, woman, non-binary). Moreover, while the shorter-term focus of the MSM Plasma Program will likely focus on alternative screening questions targeted to gbMSM and trans donors (i.e. a “capture” question followed by sexual risk behaviour questions), following the accumulation of sufficient evidence, a longer-term goal may be to ask all donors individual sexual risk behaviour questions. The implementation of these anticipated changes requires understanding their potential impact on current donors, their acceptance and understanding of these questions, and their own eligibility, to inform feasibility considerations and next steps. This study will provide recommendations to the blood operators regarding evidence-based optimal approaches to asking sex and gender questions and questions related to sexual risk behaviours.
Principal Investigator / Supervisor
FISHER, William
Co-Investigator(s) / Trainee
HAW, Jennie GOLDMAN, Mindy FOSTER, Terrie O'BRIEN, Sheila HOFKIRCHNER, Alexander
Western University
MSM Plasma Program
Total Amount Awarded
Project Start Date
Project End Date