John Latham from NHS Blood and Transplant has said that women are often “happier” to donate blood and said a fear of needles can be a reason they do not donate.
Figures show that last year 13,719 women who registered last January became blood donors, compared to only 6,092 men, despite male donors being more likely to have blood used due to higher iron levels and fewer antibodies.
The Assistant Director of Donor Relationship services told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “Everyone you speak to says that they have not got round to it but underneath it all there is something more about the needle, whether it is going to be painful, how long is it going to take.
“There is some uncertainty in there that causes people to put it off and do it another time.
“This is our campaign for the new year to say ‘let’s get more people coming forward.’
“From our female donors’ perspectives, they are much happier to come forward and donate.”
Male blood donors often have higher levels of iron meaning they are less likely to be deferred from donating on the day.
Wright questioned whether there were “psychological” reasons men were less likely to become donors.
“Is there something in the make up of the female being?” he asked.
“Whether they are more social? Better at working in constructive relationships with other people?
“Does male pride, male fear or male strength has some kind of bearing on the reluctance of men to get involved?.”
Mr Latham responded: “We know from our work that there is this needle issue. You can take your own view as to the pain threshold of women over men.”
'A lifetime journey'
Wright suggested that his co-presenter Kevin O’Sullivan should donate blood live on air, and asked what donors get for their time.
“You would get the feeling of doing something very good for society, that would be the main thing you would get,” Mr Latham said.
“We would give you a biscuit and hopefully, we would set you on a lifetime journey.
“Once you have got over the concern about the needle, hopefully you will want to come back again and again.
“The first time can be difficult but we will make sure that you have the best time that you can so that you can get over that.”