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Blood donation is the process wherein a healthy individual voluntarily gives his blood to be eventually used for blood transfusion, or to produce medication in a process referred to as fractionation. Contrary to the popular belief, this process doesn't just benefit the receiver, but also benefits the donor. However, there do exist some physical conditions that the individual needs to satisfy before he is considered eligible for the same.

General Requirements for Donating Blood

A medical check-up of the willing individual is conducted prior to the donation and only when he satisfies all the necessary requirements is he allowed to proceed further. Given below is a compilation of some of the basic requirements one needs to satisfy to be eligible to donate blood.
  • He should be between 17 and 60 years. Volunteers who are 16+ can donate blood, but only with parental/guardian consent.
  • He should weigh a minimum of 99 lb, if he is between the age of 17 and 60. On the other hand, if he is 16+, he should weigh more than 110 lb.
  • His blood pressure should be within the normal range, i.e., between 160/90 to 110/60.
  • His body temperature should not be more than 36.8 ± 0.7°C or 98.2 ± 1.3°F.
  • His regular pulse should be 80 to 100 beats per minute.
The donor should be completely healthy and physically fit. He should carry along a photo ID card while coming to donate blood. In certain circumstances, a person can be prohibited from donating blood even if he abides by these requirements.

Blood Donation Restrictions

Reasons that prohibit a person from donating blood for a specific period
  • If the person is suffering from minor illnesses, like cold, flu, viral infection, etc., he has to wait until he is completely cured.
  • If he was administered antibiotics for the treatment, he has to wait for at least 3 days after the treatment.
  • If the person is suffering from asthma, he has to wait until his condition is back to normal.
  • If the person has undergone blood transfusion, he has to wait for 1 year.
  • If the person has undergone dental surgery, he has to wait for a day in case of fillings or cleaning and 3 days in case of root canal or removal of tooth.
  • If the person has undergone body piercing or got a tattoo, he should wait for at least a year.
  • If the person has been indulging in any sort of drug abuse, he should wait for at least a year.
  • If the person has indulged in alcohol consumption, he has to wait for 12 hours.
  • If the woman has undergone normal pregnancy, she has to wait for 6 weeks after delivery.
  • If the woman has suffered miscarriage or undergone abortion in 1st/2nd trimester, she has to avoid it till she recovers completely.
  • If the woman has suffered miscarriage or undergone abortion in 3rd trimester she has to wait for the next 6 weeks.
  • If the person is suffering or suffered from malaria, he has to wait for 3 years after complete recovery.
  • If the person is suffering or suffered from tuberculosis, he has to wait for 2 years after complete recovery.
  • If the person has undergone open heart surgery, he has to avoid it until 3 years after the surgery.
  • If the person is suffering from sexually transmitted diseases (that are curable), he has to avoid the process till he recovers completely.
  • If the person had physical relation with a prostitute, he has to avoid blood donation for at least a year.
  • If the person has undergone any surgery or suffered from a serious injury, he has to wait till he is completely healed.
  • If the person is suffering from anemia, he has to wait till he recovers completely.
  • If the person is suffering, or has suffered, from ailments like measles, mumps, chickenpox, he has to avoid blood donation till three weeks after the occurrence.
Reasons that prohibit a person from donating blood for lifetime
  • If the person's blood is found positive for H.I.V./AIDS infection.
  • If the person has suffered from hepatitis after the age of 11 years.
  • If the person has abused drugs intravenously, even once.
  • If the person is suffering, or has suffered, from cancer.
  • If the person is suffering from any blood clotting disorder (e.g., hemophilia).
  • If the person is suffering from any lung or liver disorder.
  • If the person is involved in prostitution.
  • If a man has indulged in safe/unsafe physical relationship with a man, even once*.
*In the United States, the FDA's policy on blood donation prohibits men who have had sex with other men from donating blood. While this restriction has been severely criticized by organizations like the Red Cross and America's Blood Centers, the FDA believes that it is a necessity to prevent the spread of H.I.V. through transfusions.

Other than these restrictions, the person is prohibited from donating blood for a lifetime if he is suffering, or has suffered, from any of the following diseases.
  • Syphilis
  • HTVL (Human T - lymphotropic virus)
  • Babesiosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) - even if a family member has been detected with this disease.
  • Colitis
  • Colostomy
  • Dementia
  • Emphysema
  • Filariasis
  • Gout
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Prostate
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Chagas disease
  • Seizures
Once a person has donated blood, he should essentially wait for a minimum of 56 days before volunteering to donate blood again. For platelet donation, the wait period is 7 days, and for plasma donation, it is 28 days. Though your blood sample will always be subjected to blood tests when you opt to donate blood, it is always safe to give an idea to the doctor about any physical instability that you may have experienced in the past, or you are experiencing at present. Also, some of these requirements differ from region to region, so it is wise to follow the rules accordingly.