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Donor Requirements
For Whole Blood Donation

As of 04/06

Age/Weight Donors must be at least 17 years old. There is no upper age limit.  Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds.
Diet It is advisable to eat a well-balanced meal one to four hours before giving blood. Beginning two days prior to donating (and especially on the day of donation), drink plenty of fluids, such as water or juice.
Donation Interval Allow eight weeks (56 days) between donations.
Identification All donors are required to provide acceptable proof of identify or they will not be permitted to donate. Acceptable forms of identification include an American Red Cross donor card or a picture ID such as a driver’s license. If you don't have a picture ID or a donor card, then two forms of ID are required, such as an insurance card, library card, club membership card, etc.  If you don't have any of the IDs listed, call to determine what would be an acceptable form of identification.

Medical Conditions...  Can I Donate?           Return to Top

Active infections: cold, fever, flu, sore throat, etc. No
Allergies: with or without medication Yes
Arthritis Yes
Asthma: if no symptoms on day of donation, with or without medication Yes
Blood transfusion Call
Body piercing: if performed under sterile conditions Yes
Cancer Call
Cardiac or Lung Conditions Call
Diabetes Yes
Epilepsy or seizures Call
Fainting: from blood donation Yes
Hepatitis: any known type No
Hepatitis: if an unknown type prior to age 11 Yes
High blood pressure: with or without medication, if BP is between 80/50-180/100 Yes
Jaundice or hepatitis exposure Call
Lived outside the U.S. in the past three years Call
Lyme Disease, chronic or recovered Call
Mononucleosis, or mononucleosis exposure Call
New Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad Cow) Disease:

If, from 1980 - 1996, spent a total of 3 months or more in UK



If, from 1980 - present, spent 5 years in Europe or Europe and the UK combined



If, from 1980 - 1996, spent any time on a military base outside the U.S.


Oral Surgery: if more than three days ago with no infection Yes
Pregnancy No
Postpartum/Breast feeding - if six weeks after delivery Yes
Routine dental care: for cleaning, filling cavities, root canal (no infection) Yes
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) or SARS exposure Call
Surgery Call
Tattoo: if administered by a licensed facility in the U.S. (CT facilities are licensed.) Yes
Travel outside the U.S.: if within the last twelve months Call
West Nile Virus or exposure to West Nile Virus Call
Medications...   Can I Donate?

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  Accutane, Claravis, Sotret, Amnesteem: if last dose was taken more than four weeks ago Yes
  Antibiotics: if used for acne only Yes
  Antibiotics used for active infection:  if no symptoms and course of treatment was completed prior to donation Yes
  Anti-depressants Yes
  Aspirin Yes
  Birth control pills Yes
  Botox Yes
  Lipitor (or other cholesterol medications) Yes
  Propecia or Proscar:  if last dose was taken more than four weeks ago Yes
  Viagra Yes
  Zovirax (antiviral medication) Yes
Vaccines...   Can I Donate?

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  Chicken pox:  if more than four weeks ago Yes
  German Measles (rubella): if more than four weeks ago Yes
  Hepatitis A: if no exposure or symptoms Yes
  Hepatitis B:  if no exposure, no symptoms, and more than seven days ago Yes
  Lyme Disease: if no exposure and no symptoms Yes
  Measles, mumps, polio (oral), yellow fever: if more than two weeks ago Yes
  Tetanus, meningitis, anthrax, flu, pneumonia: if no symptoms Yes

* Call 1-800-462-9400 ext. 2210
Monday through Friday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
for more information about your eligibility.

Please allow between one hour and one hour and 15 minutes for the entire donation process including health history, donation and refreshment.

Thank you for donating!

If you have questions about donating, or if you need more information
about your eligibility
, please call 1-800-462-9400 ext. 2210
Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM or
e-mail us confidentially at .

For an appointment, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.

Q&A About Deferrals          Return to Top


Why are some potential donors deferred?


There are many common reasons for deferring potential donors, ranging from age and weight to blood pressure and health history. Every donor is evaluated individually by qualified blood collection staff.

All blood donors must meet certain standard health requirements, which are set up to protect the donors as well as the patients receiving the blood products. Even “regular” donors, who give blood as often as every eight weeks, must be screened before each donation.

There are two types of deferrals – temporary and indefinite. Some deferrals may require additional review by a blood center physician. Indefinite deferrals are usually considered permanent or until important new information is available.


What are some common reasons for temporary deferral?


Low Iron (Hemoglobin). Some potential donors are deferred because the hemoglobin test indicates that the iron level in their blood is lower than acceptable for blood donation. A hematocrit test is also performed to confirm the low hemoglobin, and if the hematocrit is unusually low, the donor will be advised to see his/her physician. Since iron levels change over time, the deferral may only be temporary..

High or Low Blood Pressure. Blood pressure is measured as part of the potential donor’s health exam, and if the reading falls outside of the acceptable limits, the donor is temporarily deferred. A potential donor who is on blood pressure medication should continue to take the medication as prescribed. Because blood pressure levels vary, a deferred donor may be eligible to donate the next time.

Medication. It is important to remember that taking medication does not usually defer a donor. However, the reason for taking the medication may result in a deferral. A deferred donor will be made aware of the required waiting period before the next donation.


Who is indefinitely deferred?


Some blood donors are indefinitely or permanently deferred, including people who have hepatitis or who are at risk for AIDS. In some cases, the standards for blood donation eligibility change as new information on blood-transmitted diseases becomes available. If new information results in previously deferred donors becoming eligible, we will notify them.

Note to users: Eligibility guidelines may have changed since this information was last updated.

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