The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering easing its ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

The FDA adopted a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood in 1983 in response to the AIDS crisis. In 2015, the agency relaxed the ban to allow for donations from gay men who have abstained from sexual contact for 12 months. In 2020, the FDA shortened the deferral period to 3 months to address the need for blood during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Axios, a nationwide blood shortage has prompted the FDA to reconsider the policy.

“An option under discussion is moving from a three-month deferral period to individual risk assessments based on questionnaires about recent sexual activity,” Axios reported.

The FDA funded a study to determine whether it is safe to change the policy. The FDA said that initial data from the study “will likely support a policy transition to individual risk-based donor screening questions for reducing the risk of HIV transmission.”

In January, a group of senators led by out Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin called on the FDA to lift the policy, calling it “discriminatory.”

“We urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to quickly act on the best available science and update its outdated and discriminatory blood donor deferral policies for men who have sex with men (MSM), a long overdue step that would dramatically increase the eligible donor base,” the senators wrote at the time.

“Given advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude an entire group of people, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment,” they added.

In recent years, the UK, Israel, France, and Canada have eased their restrictions on gay men who wish to donate blood.