What are the consequences of Sanquin's ferritin policy?

To prevent (negative consequences of) temporary deferral due to low hemoglobin, the Dutch national blood service Sanquin introduced a ferritin monitoring policy in 2017. Ferritin is measured after the donation (as opposed to before donation for hemoglobin), and low ferritin levels lead to deferral of 6 (ferritin 15-30 ng/mL) or 12 months (ferritin <15 ng/mL). Marloes, Steven and Maike explored the consequences of this policy on donor behavior and availability.

  • The introduction of a ferritin monitoring policy amongst blood donors may not only have effects on donor health, but also on their motivations and behavior.

  • The introduction of such a policy in the Netherlands led to a decrease in donor availability and reduced donations from donors deferred for low ferritin values.

  • The policy was, however, also successful in retaining more donors after low ferritin deferrals and reducing the number of low hemoglobin deferrals in the follow-up period.


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