The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated their Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) regarding general donor eligibility requirements for blood collection establishments.
These changes include the following:
- Male hemoglobin lower limit is 13.0 g/dl
- Acceptable blood pressure range is 90/50 to 180/100
- Acceptable pulse range is 50-100 bpm
- All plasma and apheresis donors must be weighed
The Institute for Transfusion Medicine (ITxM) and Virginia Blood Services is now required to call a physician anytime the donor’s pulse or blood pressure is out of the defined normal range by the FDA.
Helpful documents to reference for your donation:
You must be 16 years of age or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, present one form of ID and be feeling in good health.
- Allergies – you can donate if you do not have an infection, allergies are under control with no symptoms
- Antibiotics – you must be symptom free and off the antibiotic medication for at least 24 hours.
- Apheresis platelet donation – you must wait 14 days between donations.
- Athletics – you should avoid strenuous activities for at least three to five hours after donating and no heavy lifting for rest of the day
- Blood transfusions – you must wait one year after receiving a blood transfusion before you can donate.
- Cold, flu, sore throat, fever – you must wait until you are feeling well and all symptoms have subsided
- Dental visit – You can donate.
- Diabetics (insulin dependent) – you can donate.
- Ear or skin piercings– acceptable if single use disposable equipment (piercing gun) was used. At home piercings are not acceptable.
- Tattoos –eligibility is determined by where the tattoo was received (which state)- VA is OK. Call for a full list of approved states.
- Hepatitis A contact – you must wait one year from date of last contact before donating blood
- Hepatitis B and C contact – you must wait one year from date of last contact before you donate blood.
- Iron level low – you must wait to donate blood until iron level is up. Your iron level will be checked the next time you come to donate*
- Malaria – if you have visited a malaria endemic area, you must wait one year from the date you returned to the US. If you have emigrated from a country with malaria endemic areas, you must wait three years.
- Meals – you should not skip meals before you donate blood.
- Menstrual cycle – you can donate during your menstrual cycle.
- Mononucleosis – you must wait until you feel well and healthy and have been released from your doctor’s care.
- Pregnancy – you must wait six weeks after delivery or one year if the delivery required a blood transfusion.
- Sexually-transmitted diseases – if you have chlamydia, genital herpes, trichomoniasis and venereal warts, but have NO symptoms, you may donate blood. If you have syphilis or gonorrhea, you must wait one year after you complete your treatment.
- Surgery – you may donate as long as you have no sign of infection, are not on antibiotics and have not received a blood transfusion and/or allogeneic skin/bone graft. If you did receive a blood transfusion, skin or bone graft you can donate 12 months from the date of transfusion/grafting.
- Whole blood donation – you must wait eight weeks to make another whole blood donation or fourteen days to make a platelet donation.
All donors are required to present one (1) form of identification at registration.
Donors who do not have identification will be asked to return with an accepted form of ID.
Currently accepted forms of identification are:
- Donor ID Card
- Dog Tags
- Driver’s license
- Any Government Issued Passport
- Greed Card or Consular ID Card Issues by the Mexican Government
- Military ID
- Professional License ID
- Work ID
- School ID: College or University
- School ID: High School
- Individual Yearbook Photo
- Transcript from School
For additional questions about eligibility, please call Customer Service Advocate Julie Miller at 1-800-989-2201 or email Julie Miller.
*iron rich foods can quickly restore your blood’s iron level. Iron rich foods include chicken, clams, dates, dried apricots, dried beans or peas, dried peaches, dried prunes or prune juice, eggs, enriched and whole-grain breads, ham, iron-fortified cereal, liver, lean beef or pork, molasses (blackstrap), oysters, raisins, sardines, scallops, shrimp, tuna, veal and wheat germ.
Don’t let low iron keep you from donating!
Did you know that more than 8 percent of the generous people who come to Virginia Blood Services each year wanting to give blood are turned down because their iron is too low? And 95 percent of them are women.
To help increase your level of iron, eat these iron-rich foods in the week before you donate blood.
- Seafood – fish, cod, sardines, tuna, clams, oysters, shrimp
- Poultry – chicken, eggs, egg yolk
- Lean red meats – beef, lamb, veal, pork, liver
- Nuts – hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts
- Vegetables – broccoli, chard, spinach, greens, asparagus, turnips, parsley, kale, watercress, Brussels sprouts
- Beans and legumes – dried beans, lentils, lima beans, peas, chick peas, garbanzo beans
- Fruits and sweets – dates, prunes, figs, apricots, apples, raisins, chocolate, coconut, black strap molasses
- Fruits and vegetables (if eaten at the same time as iron source) – citrus fruits, tomatoes, oranges, cabbage, lemons, green peppers, limes, grapefruits, tangerines, cantaloupes, tangelos
- Breads and cereals Enriched, fortified and whole-grain breads and cereals are often high in iron (check label), farina, cream of wheat, shredded wheat
Each donor is required to answer further eligibility questions during the screening process before a donation can be made.