All blood donors must meet Massachusetts General Hospital’s eligibility requirements to donate whole blood, platelets or red blood cells. Donors must complete a questionnaire, which includes health and lifestyle questions, at their blood donation appointment to determine eligibility.
Whole Blood Donation Eligibility
You can donate whole blood if you:
- Are in good health and feel well today
- Are at least 16 years of age (click here for 16 year old parental consent form (PDF))
- Weigh at least 110 pounds (100 pounds if donating in the hospital) and at most 350 lbs
- Have eaten recently
- Have a photo ID
Prospective donors who have had most types of cancer are now eligible to donate blood 5 years from the date of their last treatment
There is no deferral for donor with a history of:
- Basal cell carcinoma of the skin
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
- Carcinoma-in-situ or Dysplasia of the cervix or breast
Donors with a history of cancers of the blood such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma or Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia are still permanently deferred.
You will be temporarily unable to donate blood if you:
- Are pregnant or are less than six weeks postpartum
- Have taken antibiotics 48 hours prior to the donation
- Have low iron levels in your blood
- Have had dental work 24 hours prior to the donation
You cannot donate blood for one year if, in the past year, you:
- Have or have been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea
- Have had a blood transfusion, organ transplant, tattoo, skin piercing or needle-stick injury
- Have had sex, even once, with anyone who has taken money or drugs in exchange for sex
- Have given yourself nonprescription drugs by needle
- Are a woman who has had sex with a man who has had sex with another man, even once, since 1977
You cannot donate blood if you:
- Have had a heart attack
- Have had viral hepatitis
- Have AIDS or have tested positive for AIDS
- Have ever traveled to or lived in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland Wales, The Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands) for a total of three months between the years of 1980 and 1996 or traveled to or lived anywhere in Europe for a total of five years since 1980. There are some exceptions regarding military bases. For questions regarding travel, please contact the Blood Donor Center.
- Have any signs or symptoms of AIDS such as: fevers, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, cough, diarrhea, swollen glands, white spots in the mouth or purple or blue bumps on the skin
- Have given yourself a nonprescription drug by needle (including steroids) even once
- Have ever taken clotting factor concentrates
- Are a man who has had sex with another man, even once, since 1977
- Have taken drugs or money for sex since 1977
You might also be unable to donate blood if you have certain medical conditions or have undergone some medical treatments.
Double Red Blood Cell Donation Eligibility
In addition to the eligibility guidelines for whole blood donations, there are specific height, and weight eligibility requirements for double red blood cell (DBRC) collection on the ALYX. To qualify as a DRBC donor:
- Males must be at least 5’1 and weigh at least 130 lbs
- Females must be at least 5’5 and weigh at least 150 lbs
In addition to the eligibility guidelines for whole blood donations, platelet donors must not have taken aspirin or products containing aspirin for two days prior to donation and must weigh at least 110 pounds.