Expanding plasma donation to be more inclusive

October 28, 2021

 Dr. Elisabeth Vesnaver Dr. Elisabeth VesnaverResearch led by Dr. Elisabeth Vesnaver, a postdoctoral fellow on Dr. Justin Presseau’s team, directly contributed to the development of Canadian Blood Services’ new donor screening processes for source plasma donation, a type of blood donation. 

CBS recently expanded source plasma eligibility criteria for some sexually active men who have sex with men at donor centres in London and Calgary as part of a pilot program. Under the pilot program, men who have sex with men can donate source plasma if, during the last three months, they have had no new sexual partners and their partner did not have sex with another partner. Outside of the pilot program, this population can only donate source plasma if it has been more than three months since their last sexual contact with a man.

Dr. Vesnaver’s research into how groups from this community view the new donation criteria and how it would affect their future willingness to donate informed CBS’ submission to Health Canada and the training of frontline staff in Calgary and London donor centres. 

This is one step towards CBS’ goal of removing the current waiting period for men who have sex with men and using sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors, a change they intend to recommend to Health Canada by the end of 2021. See press release.

TOH/uOttawa collaborators: Justin Presseau, Paul MacPherson, Gisell Castillo, Emily Gibson, Amelia Palumbo

Core resources: Ottawa Methods Centre

Funding: Health Canada, Canadian Blood Services. All research at The Ottawa Hospital is also enabled by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.   

Media Contact 
Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute