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Additional Eligibility Requirements

Other Factors That Can Impact Eligibility

If you're in good health and meet the general eligibility criteria, then you are likely able to give blood. Even if you’ve donated before, you may have specific questions about eligibility if you recently got a tattoo, traveled abroad or take certain medications. If you were told previously that you were disqualified from donating blood you might be able to now.

Health conditions that impact blood donation

Most health conditions are acceptable and you may be eligible to donate if you meet all other requirements. If you have any questions, please call us at 877-258-4825, option 1, or you may ask our donor care specialist at the time of your donation.

Respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza and RSV: Symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle or body aches, cough, chest discomfort, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Individuals who’ve had a test-diagnosed respiratory virus with mild symptoms and no fever or no symptoms, should not donate for at least five days.
  • Individuals who have respiratory virus symptoms with fever must be fever-free without medication and have improving symptoms overall for 24 hours, then wait five more days before coming to donate.

Breastfeeding: Female donors who are breastfeeding are eligible to donate.

Cancer: If you have a history of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, or in situ breast or cervix cancer, you are eligible to donate once you've completed your treatment. Those with lymphoma or leukemia are permanently deferred from donating blood (however, eligibility criteria for adult survivors of childhood leukemia who were diagnosed when they were 18 years old or younger may vary). All other types of cancer will be assessed at the time of donation, but 12 months must have passed since the last treatment and you must be considered cancer-free at the time of donation.

Diabetes: If you have diabetes (type I or II), you are eligible to donate. If you have any questions, please call us at 877-258-4825. 

Heart Disease: If you have a history of heart disease or heart attacks, you may be eligible to donate provided 6 months have elapsed from the incident and other specific criteria have been met. Please contact us for additional information.

Hemochromatosis/Polycythemia: If you are diagnosed with hereditary hemochromatosis or polycythemia, please check with us first.

High Blood Pressure: If you have high blood pressure, you are eligible to donate if your blood pressure is within an acceptable range when taken on the day of donation, regardless of medication.

Pregnant: If you are pregnant or have been pregnant in the last 6 weeks, you are not eligible to donate.

Transfusion/Transplants: If you have received a blood transfusion or specific transplants or grafts, you are asked to wait 3 months before donating; however, eligibility for those who have received a stem cell or marrow transplant is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Medications and donating blood

Most medications are acceptable; those that defer you from donating are listed on our medications deferral list.

HIV/AIDS risk factors

All potential donors will be screened using a series of questions that assess individual risk of HIV, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Read more about the FDA’s individual donor assessment final guidance.

The following risk factors require a 3-month deferral for the donor from the date of occurrence:

  • New or multiple sex partners AND anal sex in the last 3 months.
  • Sexual contact with any person in the past 3 months in exchange for money, drugs or other payment.
  • Use of needles to inject drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by your doctor in the past 3 months.
  • Sexual contact with a person who has in the past 3 months received money, drugs or other payment for sex, or in the past 3 months used needles to take drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by their doctor.
  • Sexual contact in the last 3 months with anyone who has ever had a positive test for HIV infection.
  • Contact with another person’s blood or an accidental needle stick in the past 3 months.
  • Having had or been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 3 months.
  • Taking oral medications to prevent HIV infection such as PrEP or PEP in the past three months.

The following risk factors require a donor deferral for more than 3 months from the date of occurrence:

  • Individuals in juvenile detention, lockup, jail or prison for more than 72 consecutive hours will be deferred from giving blood for 12 months.
  • People taking injectable PrEP to prevent HIV infection will be deferred for two years from their most recent injection.
Donating blood if you have tattoos, piercings, permanent make-up & acupuncture

Tattoos/Permanent Make-up/Micro-blading: These are acceptable and the donor is not deferred if the tattoo, permanent make-up or micro-blading was performed in a state-regulated shop, using sterile needles and single-use ink.

If you got a tattoo, permanent make-up or micro-blading in one of the following states/cities, we'll ask you to wait 3 months from the date it was applied before giving blood:

  • Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wyoming, Washington, D.C.

Ear/Body Piercing/Branding: You are eligible to donate if a piercing or branding was performed using single-use equipment. Otherwise, we’ll ask you to wait 3 months before donating. Note: Piercings done at Claire’s stores and similar establishments are acceptable.

Acupuncture/Dry-needling: You are eligible if the procedure was performed using single-use equipment. Otherwise, we’ll ask you to wait 3 months before donating.

European travel/residency criteria

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), known as mad cow disease, is an infectious disease whose potential for transmission by transfusion is believed to be waning.

As of Aug. 16, 2022, deferrals ended for individuals who spent time in the United Kingdom or Europe.

Note to donors in New York and New Jersey: if you were permanently deferred under previous eligibility criteria, please fill out our reinstatement form. You can also call us at 877-258-4825 to verify your eligibility.

Travel restrictions due to malaria risk areas

Most travel is acceptable. There are certain countries and popular travel destinations that are malaria risk areas. If you've traveled to these areas, we'll ask you to wait 3 months before you donate. Please call 800-289-4923, with any questions about your recent travel.

Alcohol/cannabis use

Blood donors cannot be under the influence of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs during their donation visit. A prospective donor who is noticeably under the influence will not be allowed to donate that day.

Transgender Donor Considerations

What should transgender or non-binary individuals expect when donating blood with Vitalant?

Vitalant encourages and welcomes blood donations from eligible donors regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. To ensure the safest possible donation, the process for transgender and non-binary donors can be a bit more involved as important donor safety measures are based on physiology associated with sex at birth.  

All blood, platelet and plasma donors are asked to self-identify if their gender identity is not the same as their sex at birth to ensure donors who identify as transgender, transitioning or non-binary – regardless of hormone therapy status – are safely collected. The “male” sex status is then entered into the computer system which ensures the safest hemoglobin (protein that carries oxygen in blood) level is met before donating. Giving blood while being anemic can cause or worsen associated symptoms including fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath. 

For those giving platelets, plasma, or Power Reds, the total volume limit is set to the lower “female” threshold to ensure donors aren’t over-collected, which can lead to anemia or reactions including losing consciousness – something we all want to avoid!

We recognize this is not an ideal experience for our donors who identify as transgender, transitioning or non-binary. We are working with software providers to develop a revised computer application to allow for additional categories for donor registration beyond the current male and female options – including transgender and X – so we can also register donors according to how they identify. When developed, the FDA will have to approve it.

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If you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please call us at 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL), option 1. To learn more, read our Information and Instructions for Your Blood Donation (Spanish).