Israel Ends Deferral Period for Some MSM Donors

August 25, 2021

Israel will revise its donor eligibility process to allow more men who have sex with men (MSM) to donate blood, Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced (Hebrew) on Aug. 19. Israel previously deferred all MSM from blood donation for 12 months following their last sexual contact with another man. Under the revised donor eligibility process, potential donors who engage in “higher-risk” behaviors (such as sex with new or multiple partners) will be deferred for three months, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The revised process will take effect in October. 

In the United States, donor eligibility criteria are determined by the Food and Drug Administration and cannot be changed by elected officials. MSM in the U.S. are currently deferred from donation for 3 months following their last sexual contact; however, FDA is evaluating alternatives to this policy through the ADVANCE (Assessing Donor Variability And New Concepts in Eligibility) study. 

The aim of the study is to determine whether a different blood donor deferral policy can be used nationwide while maintaining the safety of the blood supply. The ADVANCE study is the first step in assessing the safety of a change to the DHQ. Additional information about the study is available online