AN APPEAL urging men to donate blood has been launched in Southampton as new figures show more women than men donate.

Throughout National Blood Week, which runs from today to June 16, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is urgently calling for 950 men to start donating at Southampton donor centre.

New figures show that 44 per cent of the active blood donors at the centre are male.

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We need more new male donors in Southampton to address the decline in men becoming blood donors.

“Blood donation saves lives.

“Men are more likely to be able to donate, and able to help more patients with each donation, so we need a new generation of young male donors, to ensure our donor base is strong enough to keep supplying lifesaving blood to hospitals.”

Men generally have higher iron levels than women, so they are more likely to be able to donate on any given day.

Donors with low iron levels cannot donate to protect their own health.

Men also do not make new antibodies, which are part of the body’s defence system, during pregnancy.

That makes it easier to match their blood to patients, and also easier to use their blood in products such as plasma and platelets, which are used for patients with cancer, major blood loss, burns injuries, and more.

Kirsty Murphy received a blood transfusion in April after an emergency operation to remove part of her bowel.

Kirsty, 27, from Shirley, is a nurse on the oncology ward at Southampton General Hospital, and was previously a blood donor herself before needing her transfusion.

She said: “Through my job I see the importance of blood donations almost daily.

“I was grateful for putting in my five donations.

“I believe this helped me to feel at peace with my transfusion, because I helped others first.

“You never know what life might throw at you and most people don’t expect to be in a situation where you need a transfusion.

“It is a shame I can no longer give blood myself, but I hope my story inspires people to start saving lives by registering as a blood donor.”