Blood Donor Center

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.

Eligibility Guidelines:

Basic Requirements for Blood Donation

  • Donors must be in good health and feel well the day of their donation
  • Donors must be at least 17 years of age, or 16 with parental consent (click here for 16 year old parental consent form (PDF))
  • Donors must weigh at least 100 lbs (110 lbs if donating blood on one of our mobile units or if donating platelets) and no more than 350 lbs
  • Donors must show a photo I.D. 

Donation Frequency

  • Whole Blood: Every 56 days
  • Platelets: Every 7 days
  • Double Red Cells: Every 112 days

Health Conditions

  • Antibiotics: Donors are deferred for 24 hours after their final dose.
  • Cancer: Donors with a history of most types of cancer are eligible to donate 5 years from the date of their last treatment.
    • Exceptions
      • There is no deferral period for donors 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, if treated
      • There is a permanent deferral for donors with a history of:
        • Leukemia
        • Lymphoma
        • Multiple myeloma
        • Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
  • Colds: Donors are not eligible if they are not feeling well and healthy the day of donation.
  • Diabetes: Donors with diabetes (type I or II) are eligible to donate.
  • Dental Work: Donors are eligible to donate following routine dental work.
  • Gonorrhea: Donor is deferred for 12 months after date of last treatment.  
  • Heart Attack: Further evaluation is needed.
  • Hepatitis/Hepatitis Exposure
    • Donor is permanently deferred with a history of viral hepatitis at age 11 or older
    • Donor is deferred for 12 months after hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C exposure
  • High Blood Pressure: Donors with high blood pressure are eligible to donate if their blood pressure is controlled with medication.
  • Pregnant: Donors who are pregnant or less than six weeks postpartum are not eligible to donate.
  • Stitches: Donors are not eligible while stitches/sutures are still in.
  • Syphilis: Donor is deferred for 12 months after date of last treatment. 
  • Transfusion: Donor is deferred for 12 months after a transfusion of blood or blood components.
  • Transplant: Donor is deferred for 12 months after an organ transplant.

HIV/AIDS

Individuals who have had a positive test for HIV/AIDS or who have been at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS are permanently deferred from blood donation.

The following risk factors require a permanent deferral:

  • 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
  • Use of nonprescription drugs or steroids by needle, 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

The following risk factors require a 12-month deferral from the date of occurrence:

  • Have had sex, even once, with someone who has taken money or drugs in exchange for sex
  • Are a woman who has had sex with a man who has had sex with another man, even once, since 1977
  • Accidental needle stick

Travel

  • Malarial-Endemic Areas: Donor is deferred for 12 months after travel to a malarial-endemic area.
  • United Kingdom: Donor is permanently deferred for travel/residence of 3 months or more in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland Wales, The Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands) from 1980-1996.
  • Europe: Donor is permanently deferred for travel/residence of 5 years or more in Europe since 1980. There are some exceptions regarding military bases.
  • For questions regarding travel, please contact the Blood Donor Center.

Other Lifestyle Factors

  • Ear/Body Piercing: Donor is eligible if piercing was performed using sterile single-use equipment.
  • Tattoos: Donor is deferred for 12 months after getting a tattoo 

 

Platelet Donation Eligibility Guidelines:  

In addition to the eligibility guidelines for blood donations, platelet donors must:

  • Weigh at least 110 lbs
  • Avoid aspirin and aspirin-containing products for 48 hours prior to platelet donation

Double Red Blood Cell Donation Eligibility Guidelines:

In addition to the eligibility guidelines for blood donations, double red blood cell donors must meet specific height and weight requirements:

  • Female double red cell donors must be at least 5’ 5” and weigh at least 150 lbs
  • Male double red cell donors must be at least 5’ 1” and weigh at least 130 lbs

For more in depth eligibility guidelines please click here (PDF)

For additional questions or clarification, please contact us at 617-726-8177.