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5 Common Blood Donation Eligibility Questions

Sara Martinez
April 09, 2024

Whether you have never donated, you were previously deferred, or if your health condition has changed since the last time you gave, you might be wondering if you are eligible to donate blood. For the safety of blood donors and blood donation recipients, there are certain requirements to donate blood that donors must meet.

Are you eligible to donate blood? Find out by checking out these five common blood donation eligibility questions.

${1} How old do you have to be to donate blood?

You must be at least 16 years old (17 in North Carolina) to donate blood, regardless of your desired donation method — whole blood, double red cells, or platelets. Additionally, all 16-year-olds must provide a signed parental/guardian consent form to donate. If you’ll be donating at your school, make sure to check with them for any additional requirements.

As far as an age limit, you can never be too old to donate blood! As long as you are in good health and meet all eligibility guidelines, you can donate blood regardless of your age. In fact, many of OneBlood’s regular donors are over the age of 80!

100-Gallon blood donor sitting donating platelets next to a first-time blood donor at a OneBlood Donor Center

${2} Can anemic people donate blood?

Anemic people cannot donate blood. Having anemia means you do not have enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. This is usually due to having insufficient iron to produce hemoglobin.

If you donate blood when you have anemia or low iron, you are depleting your iron levels even further and putting your health at risk. Low iron is one of the most common reasons for deferral from donating blood… but you may still be able to donate another day! By eating iron rich foods and taking multivitamins with irons, you can increase your iron and maintain healthy levels before your next blood donation.

${3} Is there a weight limit to donate blood?

There is a weight limit of at least 110 pounds to donate whole blood or platelets. To donate double red cells, men must weigh at least 130 pounds and be 5'1" or taller, and women must weigh at least 150 pounds and be 5'5" or taller.

${4} Can diabetics donate blood?

Diabetics can donate blood if they are healthy and their diabetes is well controlled on insulin or oral medications. This is true for both Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics. Regardless, you should check with your doctor first before you make an appointment to donate blood.

Empty blood donation chairs at a OneBlood Donor Center, with a colorful blood type feature wall in the background

${5} How long after surgery can you donate blood?

You can donate blood at least 24 hours after many minor surgeries, including dental work, as long as you feel well at the time of the donation. However, you should rely on our pre-donation screening process to determine eligibility. In some cases, the blood center medical director may make this determination.

After major surgeries, check with your medical team to determine when is the right time for you to donate blood.

Visit the OneBlood FAQs page for a complete list of blood donation eligibility questions. Once you are ready and eligible to donate, there is only one more question to ask… “Where can I donate blood near me?” Check out our Find a Drive tool to search for a Donor Center or Big Red Bus near you today!

Sara Martinez, OneBlood Digital Marketing Specialist

Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez is a Digital Marketing Specialist at OneBlood. From creating strategic online campaigns to writing engaging stories, she is passionate about raising awareness to inspire others and helping make a difference in our community. #ShareYourPower

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