“Those who already were blood donors were more likely to be willing to donate stool,” McSweeney said.

People also said they’d be more likely to donate if they knew how stool donations were benefiting others.

However, there are some sizable barriers to donation, the survey found.

“If they found collecting their own stool unpleasant, they’d be less willing to donate, which is a big factor,” McSweeney said.

People also said they’d be discouraged by all of the hurdles one must undertake to donate stool.

Potential stool donors currently must fill out a questionnaire similar to that of blood donors, and undergo blood and stool tests prior to their donation to “make sure you aren’t giving anyone stool that could harm them,” McSweeney said.

For example, the first U.S. stool bank, OpenBiome, requires that donors fill out a 200-point clinical questionnaire and take more than two dozen blood and stool screens.

Dr. Colleen Kelley is an assistant professor of gastroenterology with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, in Providence. “There is a very high bar to be a stool donor,” she said. “OpenBiome rejects 97 percent of the donors who apply.”

Further, donors must repeat the health assessment every two months to make sure they haven’t contracted an illness that would affect the quality of their stool, according to the OpenBiome website.

Potential donors also were discouraged by the fact that they would have to swing by a hospital to donate, McSweeney said. Unlike blood banks, stool banks currently are not in a position to hold collection drives at remote locations.

Finally, donor burnout appears to be very likely. “We found that even donating once a month, people found that quite inconvenient for them,” McSweeney said.

Kelley pointed out that “some stool banks do the donation right in the center, after a donor is approved. And they typically have the person come back in for a few days in a row since they have just been screened. So, these participants need to have regular bowel movements.”

Cash can help overcome reluctance. People said they’d be more willing to donate if they were paid $15 to $25 for a donation; OpenBiome currently offers $40 per donation.




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