Gay and bisexual men in Denmark are now permitted to donate blood on condition that they abstain from sex for a period of four months.
Denmark has now joined a small group of countries that have adopted the same period of abstinence. Gay couples in a monogamous relationship in Denmark were already allowed to donate blood unconditionally; this will remain the case.
The new legislation with regard to blood donations is effective as of last month. In a letter of intent to the Danish parliament, Minister for Health Magnus Heunicke stated: “Denmark will now become one of the most progressive countries in the world with regard to blood donations for men who engage in sex with other men”. Heunicke added “No research has been done to support the period of abstinence, so we see the changes as a step in the right direction, but would welcome any liberalization of the rules at any time”.
Last year, France lowered the abstinence period from 12 months to four, as did the Netherlands, which, following research, is considering joining the handful of countries that have already abolished the period of abstinence.