Can you give blood? 12 reasons you might not be able to be a blood donor

Here’s the lowdown on who’s allowed to give blood – and who isn’t.

Did you know that not everyone can give blood?

Anyone who gives blood on a regular basis should be widely applauded as this selfless act (which only takes 20 minutes) can be used to enhance the lives of up to three recipients at a time, including life-saving immunisations for chicken pox, hepatitis B and tetanus.

Red blood cells, plasma and platelets are a vital lifeline for so many medical treatments, yet only one in 30 of us regularly donates blood which means keeping supply levels topped up is a constant battle.

But what about those that can't give blood? Whether you’ve just finished a course of antibiotics, had a tattoo, or started dating a new partner - there may be a question mark over your eligibility as a blood donor.

1. Been feeling unwell?

If you’ve been feeling under the weather with a chesty cough, sore throat or an active cold sore you shouldn’t consider giving blood until you’re better.

2. Be aware of CJD disease

Unfortunately you won’t be allowed to give blood if a member of your family has suffered with Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, a rare and fatal brain disorder.

3. Has your GP given you antibiotics?

Anyone who has just finished a course of antibiotics within the last seven days or has had any type of infection within the last two weeks will be excluded from donating blood.

4. Sexual history

If you’re gay and have recently had anal or oral sex with another man you’ll need to wait 12 months before giving blood. Any female who discovers her male partner has slept with another man won’t be allowed to give blood for 12 months either.  Anyone who has slept with a commercial sex worker will also have to wait 12 months before they can donate.

5. Suffered with hepatitis or jaundice?

Have you been ill with hepatitis or jaundice in the last 12 months? If so, you won’t be allowed to give blood for another year.

6. Have you had tattoo or any treatments with needles?

If you’ve  recently had a tattoo, semi-permanent make-up or cosmetic treatment that pierces the skin you will need to wait at least four months before making an appointment to donate.

7. Mention any past medical treatments

If you think you’ve received blood during a medical treatment or procedure after January 1980, you will unfortunately also be told you aren’t allowed to give blood.

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8. Has your partner had a blood clotting disorder?

If you’ve recently had sex with anyone who suffers from haemophilia or a blood clotting disorder (and they’ve received clotting factor concentrates) you’ll need to wait a year before you’re allowed to give blood.

9. Don’t forget to speak to your acupuncturist

Having regular acupuncture treatments? Make sure your practitioner is a member of a statutory body or the treatment has been through the NHS before you go ahead and give blood.

10. Can you remember receiving human pituitary extract?

For anyone who has ever received human pituitary extract (during fertility treatments or hormone treatments before 1985) you will not be eligible to give blood.

11. Think about HIV/Aids

If you’ve been sexually active with someone who has been sexually active in parts of the world where HIV and Aids are very common you will be asked to come back in 12 months’ time.

12. Had a relationship with a drug user?

If you’ve had sex with someone who has injected themselves with drugs in the past then you’ll need to wait 12 months before giving blood.

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