Blood Donor Qualifications  and Eligibility Information


General Eligibility Information

In order to give blood, you must:

  • currently be in good health.  If you have a cold, flu or a sore throat you must wait until you feel well and are symptom free.
  • weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • be at least 18 years of age, or have signed American Red Cross parental consent form if you are 17 years in age.
  • in general, vitamins, hormones, insulin, birth control pills, and medication for high blood pressure are acceptable.

You should not give blood if you:

  • are now pregnant.  You can donate blood 6 weeks after the end of your pregnancy, even if your nursing.
  • have had a tattoo within the last 12 months.
  • have had a needle stick in the last 12 months.
  • have epilepsy and have had a seizure within the past 3 months.
  • have visited "malaria areas" within the past 12 months.  For further information on geographic areas associated with high malarial risk, please contact the American Red Cross by telephone at: 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or reach us via e-mail at: igivelifeaz@usa.redcross.org
  • have a history of hepatitis or jaundice (on or after the age of 11), or have had close exposure to someone with hepatitis within the past 12 months.
  • have had a blood transfusion (other than your own blood) within the past 12 months.
  • have been held in a correctional facility (including a jail, prison, or detention center) for more than 72 straight hours in the past 12 months.
  • have had or been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea, or tested positive for syphilis, within the past 12 months.
  • currently have AIDS or have participated in any activities which put you at risk for becoming infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  (Please see "Specific Donor Requirements" for a detailed list of risk factors and additional information.)

You may give blood after surgery, if you are feeling well and have been released by your doctor.

If you have had cancer, a stroke, or a heart attack you may be eligible to give blood.

If you have given blood before, you must wait a minimum of 56 days (eight weeks) between each blood donation.

On the day of your donation, please remember to drink extra non-caffeinated fluids and eat a small low-fat meal or a snack, 2-4 hours before donating. 

 

Specific Blood Donation Eligibility Information

From A to Z

Age

  • In order to give blood you must be at least 17 years old.  If you are 17 years old, you are required to have a signed American Red Cross Parental Consent Form.  If you are 18 years old or older you do not need this consent form to donate.  (There is no upper age limit)

AIDS

  • If you wish to be tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, please see your own doctor or local health department.
  • You should not donate blood to receive this testing. 

AIDS Exposure

  • If you are a health care worker and have been exposed to the blood of a patient with HIV (through a needle stick or an open wound), postpone donating until 12 months after the time of exposure.

AIDS/HIV Risk Factors

You should not donate if you are at risk for contracting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).  The following activities would cause you to be at risk:

  • If you have ever used a needle, even once, to take any illegal or non-prescription drug.
  • If you have ever taken money or drugs for sex since 1977.
  • If you are a male who has had sex, even once, with another male since 1977.
  • If, in the past 12 months, you have had sex, even once, with anyone who has taken money or drugs in exchange for sex since 1977.
  • If, in the past 12 months, you have had sex, even once, with anyone who has ever used a needle for illegal or non-prescription drug.
  • If, in the past 12 months, you have given money or drugs to have sex with you.
  • If, in the past 12 months, you have had sex, even once, with anyone who has taken clotting factor concentrates.
  • If, in the past 12 months, you have had sex, even once, with anyone who has had AIDS or tested positive for the AIDS virus.
  • If, you are a female who, in the past 12 months, has had sex with a male who has had sex, even once,  with another male since 1977.
  • If you were born or have lived in, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, since 1977.
  • If, since 1977 you have received a blood transfusion or medical treatment with a blood product in any of those countries listed above.
  • If, you have had sex with anyone who, since 1977, was born in or lived in any of those countries listed above.

Allergy 

  • If you are suffering from allergies, and are feeling well, you may donate .

Asthma

  • If you are suffering from asthma, yet your asthma is controlled, you are eligible to give blood if you feel well.

Blood Pressure

  • If you are currently taking blood pressure medication you are eligible to give blood.  You blood pressure, at the time of the donation, must be 180/100 or lower.

Blood Transfusion

  • If you have had a blood transfusion (other than your own blood), postpone donating until 12 months after the time of the transfusion.

Cancer

  • If you have had cancer you must postpone donating until 5 years after the diagnosis, surgery, or last radiation treatment.  If your treatment involved chemotherapy, you are not eligible to donate blood.

Cold, Flu, or Sore Throat

  • If you are suffering from an active cold or have flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, productive cough, or general fatigue, you must wait to donate blood until you are feeling well and are symptom free.

Convulsion

  • If you have a convulsion disorder, such as epilepsy, and have not had a seizure within the past 3 months you are eligible to give blood.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

  • If you have ever had Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or, if any blood relative such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or child currently has or has had CJD, or if you have been told that your family is at risk for CJD, you should not give blood.
  • Please see "Travel outside the U.S." section for additional information.

Dental Issues

  • If you have recently had teeth cleaning, scaling, root canal, filing, or tooth extraction and no infection is present, you are eligible to give blood.
  • If you have had oral surgery or are suffering from an untreated infection or abscess, postpone donating for 3 days.

Diabetes

  • If you have diabetes you may donate even if you are taking insulin.  However, you must wait two weeks from beginning a prescribed insulin protocol.
  • If, since 1980, you have received an injection of bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom, you are currently not eligible to donate blood.  (For further information, please contact the American Red Cross by telephone at: 1-800-GIVLIFE or e-mail us at: igivelifeaz@usa.redcross.org

Heart Disease/Surgery

Although each case will be evaluated on an individual basis, some basic requirements are as follows:

  • You must have no restriction on physical activity.
  • You must not be on cardiac medication except for aspirin.
  • If you suffer from non-cardiac musculo-skeletal chest pain, you are eligible to give blood.

Hemoglobin

  • In addition to your temperature, blood pressure and pulse, a drop of your blood wll be tested to determine if enough red blood cells are present for you to safely donate.  Occasionally, a potential donor may be temporarily deferred from donating due to a low red blood cell count.

Hepatitis/Unexplained Jaundice

  • If you have had hepatitis or yellow jaundice, on or after age of 11 years old, you are not eligible to give blood.
  • If you have ever tested positive for HBsAg, have been repeat reactive for anti-HCV or anti-HBc at any age, you are not eligible to donate.
  • If you have ever used a needle, even once, to take any illegal drugs or steriods, you are not eligible to donate blood.

Hepatitis Exposure

  • If you have had close contact with someone who has hepatitis ( close contact being defined as sexual contact, or sharing the same household, kitchen and/or toilet facilities), postpone donating until 12 months after the date of the last contact.
  • If you have resided in a group setting ( such as dormitory) where multiple cases of hepatitis have occurred, postpone donating until 12 months after date of exposure.
  • If you have been incarcerated for more than 72 consecutive hours in a jail, prison, or detention center, or have been in a psychiatric/mental institution for more than 28 days,  postpone donating until 12 months have passed.
  • If you have had a human bite which broke the skin, postpone donating until 12 months after the incident.
  • If you are a health care worker and are caring for hepatitis or HIV positive patients, you are eligible to give blood provided you have not had contact with patients' blood or body fluids.
  • If you have any body piercing, and the procedure was sterile you are eligible to give blood.

Immunization/Vaccination

  • If you have received a vaccination for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), or Chicken Pox ( Varivax ), postpone donating for 4 weeks after the time of vaccination.
  • If you have been exposed to Red Measles, German Measles, Chicken Pox, or Mumps (unless you have been immunized or have had the disease), postpone donating until 3 weeks after time of exposure.
  • If you have received a vaccination for Hepatitis B (given for protection and not for exposure), postpone donating until 7 days after the time of vaccination.  (For more information on exposure please see "Hepatitis Exposure" section.
  • If you have received a vaccination for Hepatitis prevention, you are eligible to give blood.
  • If you have received an immunization or vaccination for flu or tetanus, provided you are currently symptom-free and fever-free, you are eligible to give blood.

Infectious Monoucleosis

  • If you have ever had infectious mononucleosis, have fully recovered, and your illness was not accompanied by jaundice, you are eligible to give blood.

Malaria

  • If you have had malaria, and it has been 3 years since the time of your last symptom, you are eligible to donate blood.
  • Please see Travel Outside of U.S. section for additional information.

Medications

  • If you have ever taken pituitary-derived human growth hormone or Tegison, you are not eligible to donate blood.
  • If you have had injections of radioactive material, postpone donating 8 weeks after last date of injection.
  • If you have taken Accutane, Proscar, Propecia, or Gold Therapy, postpone donating until 4 weeks after your last dose.
  • If you have taken oral or intra-muscular antibiotics or anti-fungal medication (unless taken for a chronic condition), postpone donating until 2 days after last dose.
  • If you have taken anti-virals, postpone donating until 2 days after your last dose.
  • Should you have questions about any other medications, please contact us by telephone at: 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or email us at: igivelifeaz@usa.redcross.org

Organ/Tissue Transplants

  • If you have had an organ or tissue transplant (including dental powder), postpone donating until 12 months after the time of the transplant.
  • If you have ever received a dura mater transplant, you are not eligible to donate blood.

Pregnancy

  • If you are currently pregnant, you are not eligible to donate.
  • If you had a full term delivery or caesarian section, postpone donating until 6 weeks after delivery.
  • If you received a blood transfusion during delivery, postpone donating for 12 months.
  • If you are currently a nursing mother you are eligible to donate.

Serious Illness

  • If you have had or currently have Kaposi's Sarcoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Chagas Disease, Babesiosis, or Leishmaniasis, you are not eligible to donate blood.
  • For further information, please contact the American Red Cross by telephone at: 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or e-mail us at: igivelifeaz@usa.redcross.org

Sickle Cell

  • If you have sickle cell disease, you are not eligible to donate blood.
  • If you have sickle cell trait, you are eligible to donate blood.

Skin Disease and Rash

  • Donors will be individually evaluated.
  • For further information, please contact the American Red Cross by telephone at: 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or e-mail us at: igivelifeaz@usa.redcross.org

Surgery

If you have recently had surgery you are eligible to give blood provided that:
  • You are not currently suffering from an underlying illness which would disqualify you.
  • Stitches or staples have dissolved, or have been removed, and the wound has healed.
  • You have resumed normal activity and are feeling well.
  • You have been released from your doctor's care.

Syphilis/Gonorrhea

  • If you have had syphilis or gonorrhea or have been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea, postpone donating for 12 months.

Travel Outside the U.S.

  • If you have traveled into areas where there exists a risk of malaria, postpone donating for 12 months from the time you left the area.
  • If you have lived for 1 year or more in a malarial-risk country, postpone donating for 3 years from the time you left the country.
  • If, during 1980-1996 you have spent a total time that adds up to 6 months or more in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Channel Islands), you are not eligible to donate blood.
  • Border communities such as Nogales, Sonora, Agua Prieta, Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point), as well as common resort areas including Mexico City, Acapulco, Puerto Valarta, Mazatlan, Cancun (unless you visited the ruins) are not considered malarial areas.  However, if you have extensively traveled by car outside the state of Sonora, Mexico this could be a cause of deferral.

Weight

  • In order to give blood you must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds.

If you have any comments or suggestions, Please contact us at by telephone at: 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or reach us via e-mail at:

  igivelifeaz@usa.redcross.org

Copyright 2001. The American Red Cross