February 4, 2023

The Red Cross is in desperate need of your poo – it takes guts, but it’s for a good cause.

Perth is home to the only Lifeblood Microbiota Donor Centre in Australia – but many of their existing donors have been wiped out by Covid-19 and the cold and flu season.

Every donation is processed into life-saving faecal microbiota in transplant treatments for patients suffering infections like Clostridioides difficile.

The Red Cross is asking Perth residents to donate their poo, which can be used to harvest life-saving microorganisms 


Would you donate your poo in the name of medical science?

Currently just a handful of microbiota donors remain, with 85 per cent of existing donors no longer able to give.

The Red Cross desperately needs 2400 Perth residents to sign up.

Perth A/Microbiome Manager Silvana Miney said to be eligible, donors must not have had Covid, must be aged between 18 and 50, and be able to regularly donate at the Microbiota Donor Centre in Perth CBD.

‘FMT is made by collecting stool from a healthy donor, testing and processing it, then supplying it to hospitals to transplant to patients,’ Ms Miney said.

‘It might seem like an unusual request, but there are more than a trillion life-saving microorganisms in your gut.

‘Your healthy microbiota, something that normally gets flushed away, could be used to make FMT that can transform and even saves lives.’

Hand of a researcher showing a close-up of a microbiological culture plate, used to grow the life-giving microorganisms

Donors also have to clean bill of health for a range of other conditions and not be taking prescribed medication, although the contraceptive pill is excluded from this requirement. 

See also  Bankstown brawl: Women throw punches in wild shopping centre fight

Microbiota is an umbrella term used to describe trillions of naturally occurring bacteria, viruses and fungi in the body. 

There are up to 1,000 species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome, with each type playing a different role. 

While some bacteria are associated with disease, others interact with the immune system and can impact heart, weight and many other aspects of health.

Having healthy microbiome, here seen lining the intestine, are important to many aspects of health, including the immune system and the heart    

Ms Miney encouraged people to cast away the stigma and donate their poo.

‘Just one in 100 people who enquire will be eligible to donate, so we need as many people as possible to sign-up,’ she said.

You can find out more about donating here.