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Black women and blood donation

Black women and blood donation

What is the aim of the program?

During the blood donation process, the human body loses a certain amount of iron. Héma-Québec wants to determine if taking iron pills after giving blood can help replace the iron lost and thus make it possible for more women to give blood.

Several Black women who would like to give blood are prevented from doing so because their hemoglobin count is naturally lower than Héma-Québec’s eligibility criterion (125 g/l). Lowering the criterion to 115 g/l and replacing the iron lost during a blood donation could make a majority of Black women regularly eligible to give blood without affecting their health. This is the goal of the program. Integrating these new donors would help us better meet the blood requirements of those in need within the Black community.

People who regularly receive blood transfusions (e.g., people with sickle-cell anemia) have a lower risk of developing antibodies against the donated blood if it comes from a donor with similar genetic characteristics.

Who can participate?

You can take part in the program if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a Black woman;
  • You meet Héma-Québec’s eligibility criteria for giving blood.

Why participate?

To help optimize the collective blood supply. You will be helping people who have genetic characteristics similar to yours and who regularly need blood transfusions.

What does participating involve?

  • You register to donate blood. If your hemoglobin count is 115 g/l or higher, you are eligible to give blood. If your hemoglobin count is lower than 115 g/l, you cannot give blood, but you can still participate in the program to monitor your iron levels by providing a blood sample.
  • You read this information brochure and fill out a consent form.
  • The first time you participate, you complete a short questionnaire (five minutes) that contains a few questions about your history of pregnancies and menstrual periods.
  • If you make a blood donation, in addition to the usual tests performed on all blood donations collected, a ferritin test will be carried out. The ferritin level is an indicator of the amount of your iron reserves.
  • If you do not donate blood because your hemoglobin count is lower than 115 g/l, the nurse will only collect 7 ml (½ tbsp) of blood for the ferritin test.
  • After the blood collection, you will receive iron pills to take, in the indicated dose.
  • In all cases, we will ask you to come and register to donate blood twice a year over a two- to five-year period.
  • If you return to make another blood donation, you will be asked again to fill out a consent form and a short questionnaire about your experience taking the iron pills. You will also be asked to provide information about your history of pregnancies and menstrual periods.

Where to donate?

 You can go at any time in one of our participating GLOBULE Blood Donor Centres:

  • Centre Laval;
  • Place Versailles;
  • Quartier Dix30.

Frequent questions

You will not be offered any compensation for your participation in this program. Nevertheless, you retain all your rights to seek legal redress, as the case may be, in the event of an incident in which you may have been harmed.

Héma-Québec will not perform a medical follow-up. However, if your hemoglobin count is lower than 115 g/l, you will be given a letter. This letter will suggest that you mention your hemoglobin count to your doctor, who is the one who will decide if any medical follow-up is required.

Héma-Québec may use, in a confidential manner, the information collected about participants for the purposes of research, studies and statistics.

You are free to take part in this program and may withdraw from it at any time by giving a simple verbal notice. You can change your mind even if you have already agreed to take part.

For more information

Naderge Ceneston
Cultural Communities Development Counselor
514-832-5000, ext. 5230
naderge.ceneston@hema-quebec.qc.ca

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