The criteria for blood donation are always being reviewed and changes are often made. You may now BE eligible to donate!
Here are some changes that have recently come into effect. Remember, if you have any questions or are not sure about your eligibility, please contact one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
As of April 23, 2018
Help us spread the word that thousands more people may now be eligible to donate blood each year, thanks to a wide range of changes to our donor eligibility criteria. Based on the latest scientific evidence, highlights include:
- Tattoos or piercings: After a tattoo or piercing, you only have three months to wait before donating blood. This is half the time it used to be.
- Microepilation: As long as you use a personal device, you’ll be able to donate. We no longer defer donors who have undergone microepilation.
- Marijuana and alcohol: If you’re sober and can give informed consent, then you can donate. Prior to these latest changes, donors had to wait 12 hours after resolution of intoxication. Many people think they’re deferred for past marijuana use, but that is not the case.
- Hepatitis, Jaundice: No more lifelong deferral from blood donation for hepatitis, other than hepatitis B or C. Many cases of hepatitis or jaundice have non-infectious causes, or are caused by viruses (other than hepatitis B or C) that are not infectious once resolved. That’s why we will only be asking about recent history of hepatitis – in the last 6 months.
- Recipients of blood and blood products (and sexual partners): You are eligible to donate blood as soon as six months have passed after receiving blood or blood products. That delay used to be one year.
- We no longer ask donors or their sexual partners about clotting factor concentrates. In some cases this lets previously deferred donors and their sexual partners give blood. Call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236 6283) to better determine if you are eligible.
- Epilepsy: You are now eligible to give blood six months after your last seizure, and in some cases even if you are on medication to prevent seizures, provided the medication itself is acceptable. You may call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236 6283) to check.
- Togo or Cameroon: We no longer ask if you or your sexual partner has visited Togo or Cameroon in the past year. This change is thanks to international HIV surveillance and the latest scientific evidence showing these areas are no longer at high risk of variant strains of HIV. Please note, there's still a chance that donors who have recently travelled to these countries may be deferred due to malaria risk.
These changes are safe for patients who rely on blood and blood products. All changes are based on the latest scientific evidence and approved by our regulator Health Canada.
While maintaining the safety of the blood supply, we aim to make blood donation as minimally restrictive as possible.
Previous recent changes:
- Age: There is no longer an upper age limit. If you have donated before and are over 71 and would like to book, give us a call! If you have never donated before, you can start donating at any time after your 17th birthday. It’s always the time to start Giving Life. Give us a call at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283)
- Cancer: For most types of cancer, you can donate 5 years after your treatment is complete and you are cancer-free. These include breast, prostate, colon, thyroid and uterine cancer. And for skin cancer such as squamous cell or basal cell, you can donate after treatment. We’d love to see you. Book an appointment today.
- Flu Shot: Getting the flu shot no longer means you can’t come in on the day of your shot. Book anytime. Book an appointment today.
- Travel: There is other travel that can mean you can’t donate but don’t assume, you might be ok to donate! Learn more here: Travel
- Medications: While taking some medications means you can’t donate, most are ok. Most common medications, such as ones used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or depression are all ok. So, if you are currently taking medication and want to know if you can give blood, check the top 40 acceptable and unacceptable medications first.
- Men who have sex with men: Health Canada has approved our request to reduce the blood donation waiting period for men who have sex with men from five years to one year. The change took effect across the country on Aug. 15, 2016. Héma-Québec will also make the change at the same time. Learn more here: Men who have sex with men
- Trans individuals: New criteria for trans donors took effect on Aug. 15, 2016. Learn more here: Trans individuals
- Donation Interval: Females - Female donors must now book their next appointment 84 instead of 56 days out to protect their iron levels. Read more.
- Hemoglobin Test: Males - Male donors are required to measure 130 g/L on the hemoglobin test (an increase from the previous 125 g/L). Read more
- Before you donate: Drink fluids & eat salty snacks, avoiding fatty foods such as bacon or fried foods.