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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. Read the basic requirements for donating 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.
Vitalant implemented the changes to donor eligibility criteria recently announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human immunodeficiency virus, malaria and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, also known as mad cow disease.
If you had been previously told by Vitalant you are deferred from giving blood for any of these reasons but believe you now may be eligible under the new FDA guidelines, we encourage you to review the information on this page and then fill out a form to initiate reinstatement. *Please note that due to the high volume of reinstatement requests, it could take 3-4 months before we are able to review and respond to your reinstatement request. Thank you for your patience.
If you have never been deferred by Vitalant (or one of our legacy blood centers) and meet all eligibility criteria, please schedule a donation to transform the lives of patients in need.
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.
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.
Colds/Flu: You are not eligible if you are not feeling well and healthy the day of donation. You may donate after you recover and are symptom free.
Diabetes: If you have diabetes (type I or II), you are eligible to donate. Diabetics who ever used bovine insulin and were permanently deferred from giving blood are encouraged to complete this form to initiate possible reinstatement based on updated FDA eligibility guidelines.
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.
In April 2020, the FDA issued “ Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products ,” changing the deferral criteria for men who have sex with men from 12 to three months since last male-to-male sexual contact.
All blood centers are required to follow FDA guidelines for blood donor eligibility. A three-month deferral provides adequate time for early transmissible infection—including HIV and hepatitis B and C—to be reliably detected by testing. Although testing has improved, it is not 100% effective at detecting infectious agents at the time of donation from individuals with very early infection.
We welcome blood donations from eligible donors regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. All blood, platelet and plasma donors are asked to self-identify and self-report sex as male or female and answer standard health history questions. At Vitalant, self-reporting is facilitated by presenting an ID that includes sex or stating their sex if an ID isn't available. Based on this screening process, some individuals are deferred from blood donation for many reasons, including (but not limited to) the FDA’s MSM-related donor eligibility policy (see MSM FAQs above).
If you have questions, please contact us at 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825, option 2) before your donation visit, and our staff can help determine your eligibility to give blood. Otherwise, eligibility is determined during health screening at the donation site.
Several of the screening questions that support donor and patient safety are based on biological sex. At this time, the FDA requires male or female sex to be registered. By asking male screening questions, we obtain important information related to donors’ unique physiology and behaviors.
We recognize this is not an ideal experience for some donors. We are working with AABB, the blood industry’s professional organization, to develop a revised donor history questionnaire that would allow for additional categories for donor registration beyond the current male and female options—including transgender and X— so we can register donors according to how they identify. When developed, the FDA will have to approve. Eventually, we hope to avoid gender-based questions entirely by instituting individualized risk assessments now being tested in several countries.
Vitalant is also leading a pilot study called ADVANCE, funded by the FDA and in partnership with OneBlood and the American Red Cross, to gather data that may support using an individual risk assessment behavior-based donor eligibility questionnaire in the U.S. instead of the current three-month deferral. More information about the study is available at ADVANCEstudy.org. Once they are demonstrated to be safe and effective, this too will require FDA approval.
U.S. blood centers are obligated to follow FDA guidelines. We understand these guidelines can be hurtful to some in the LGBTQ+ community. Vitalant is proud to lead a pilot study called ADVANCE, funded by the FDA and in partnership with OneBlood and the American Red Cross, to gather data that may support using an individual risk assessment behavior-based donor eligibility questionnaire in the U.S. instead of the current three-month deferral. More information about this study is available at ADVANCEstudy.org.
The following risk behaviors represent a 3-month deferral for the donor from the date of occurrence:
Male donors who have sex with another man in the past 3 months
Female donors who have sex with a man who had sex with another man in the past 3 months
Intimate/sexual contact with any person in the past 3 months in exchange for money or drugs
Use of needles to take drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by your doctor in the past 3 months
Individuals who had sex in the past 3 months with a person who has ever exchanged sex for money or drugs, or ever used needles to take drugs, steroids or anything not prescribed by their doctor
Accidental contact with another person’s blood or an accidental needle stick in the past 3 months
A history or treatment of syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 3 months
Individuals who are incarcerated for more than 72 consecutive hours will be deferred from giving blood for 12 months.
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:
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.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the latter known as mad cow disease, are infectious diseases that may be transmitted through a blood transfusion. There are no tests to detect these diseases in blood, which is why the FDA mandates special precautions to protect the blood supply.
In alignment with new FDA guidelines, Vitalant will keep in place permanent vCJD-related deferrals for the following individuals:
Donors who have spent 3 months or more cumulatively in the United Kingdom (i.e., England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands) from 1980 to 1996.
Donors who have spent 5 years or more cumulatively in France or Ireland from 1980 to 2001.
Donors with a history of blood transfusion in the U.K., France or Ireland from 1980 to present.
In alignment with new FDA guidelines due to the extremely low risk for transmission, the following donors will no longer be permanently deferred:
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.
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).
Then, use any donate button to schedule an appointment.