Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So the Missus and I were at the Red Cross blood donation center yesterday afternoon, having arrived there with the intention of giving platelets. As it turned out, I could not do so: I had taken my usual dose of enteric-coated aspirin that morning, and aspirin is, apparently, a no-no within 48 hours of undergoing apheresis.

Since the Missus was going to be having some (minor) blood work done on the morrow, she decided to put off her platelet donation until the end of the week, when we could do it together. But in the meantime, I gave my usual pint of whole blood.

Before you donate blood, you are asked a lengthy battery of questions intended to establish whether your blood products might involve certain risk factors. F’r instance, it’s pretty safe to assume that if you have ever paid to have anal sex with a Somalian circus midget - whether or not said midget is HIV-positive - you will not be donating blood any time soon.

We’ve been donating blood for years, and we’ve heard all the questions before. But this time, there was a new one:

“Have you been male all your life?”

The version SWMBO got was more on the lines of, “Is your gender the one you were born with?”

First time I’ve ever been asked whether I’m a transsexual. And I’m curious. What medical risk factors affect people who have undergone gender reassignment, if any, and are they relevant to the safety of the blood supply?

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