Get Male Blood Or Go Blind – The Story Of Sjogren’s Syndrome
39-year-old Joe Daniels needs male blood, otherwise she will go blind. The reason is a rare autoimmune disease, Sjogren's syndrome. But in Britain there are not enough male donors.
Joe’s lacrimal glands become inflamed due to Sjogren’s syndrome and ulcers appear on the cornea.
To combat these symptoms, Joe instills a special serum in his eyes, which is made from the blood of men. Men's blood contains a lot of iron and is therefore ideally suited for serum, says Joe.
The body of women during pregnancy produces antibodies, due to which their blood becomes unsuitable for certain types of transfusion and in order to make a number of drugs from it. Joe's serum is one such drug.
However, there are not many male donors in Britain: last year, only 41% of new donors in Britain were male.
"In total darkness"
When Joe Daniels began to lose sight with frightening speed, her life turned upside down.
"My eyes began to itch, and then my vision deteriorated sharply and pain started," says Joe. “For four weeks I was in complete darkness, although before that my eyesight was normal.”
“What's worse, it started around Christmas, and I couldn't get medical attention quickly,” she says.
They searched for the medicine for a long time - several types of standard therapy did not help Daniels, and she already began to fear that she would lose her eyesight forever.
Then the doctors decided to try a non-standard solution: serum from male blood.
"Now I see only thanks to the men who donate blood for serum so that people like me bury it in my eyes every hour."
"If male donors cease to be enough, then this serum will become unavailable. And I will start to go blind again," she says.
Sjogren's syndrome affects glands of external secretion, mainly lacrimal and salivary.
Most often they suffer from women aged 40 to 60 years, although it is sometimes found in people of both sexes and any age. Today, a way to cure him has not yet been found.
Britain faced a shortage of male donors last year: for every 100 female male donors, there were only 70.
Men do not want to donate blood?
The National Health Service (NHS) wants this year to increase the proportion of men among donors by 26%.
“We need 68,000 men to start giving blood this year,” says NHS employee Mike Stredder.
"Male blood can be used in unique types of therapy, it can save lives, but male donors are too few. The point is not to get as many donors as possible, but to achieve the gender balance we need."
Over the past five years, in England the total number of donors has fallen by almost a quarter, while the number of female donors has fallen by only 6%.