Canadian Blood Services does not have a formal policy about how to register and screen intersex donors. Canadian Blood Services’ practices are currently binary based, which is very problematic. The screening practices are harmful. We want to caution that reading the following may be upsetting. We are describing them here for people who want more information, so that you can make an informed decision about what your experience will look like before you go in to donate.
There are two steps where gender is asked about:
Canadian Blood Services does not have an official policy for screening intersex folks. Intersex folks with a binary gender will be registered in their gender. For intersex folks with a gender outside the binary, the screener will follow a process called a “medical enquiry”. This process can be a bit complicated, and may be a bit different for each person. Generally what happens is this: the screening staff will call a CBS doctor who is on-call to determine how to register the donor. If the on-call doctor can not be reached, the donor is deferred temporarily until a CBS doctor can determine how to register the donor. We recognize how incredibly paternalistic this is. CBS is working on changes in consultation with trans and non-binary community members as well as the registration software owner to improve this registration and screening process.