Blood Donor Eligibility Guidelines
The Massachusetts General Hospital’s Blood Donor Program’s response to the FDA’s January 27, 2023, announced recommendations
The FDA announced a proposed change to its approach to reducing the risk of HIV transmission by blood transfusion. Instead of deferring men who have sex with men from donating for 3 months since their last sexual contact, the FDA is recommending assessing all donors using gender-inclusive screening questions intended to individualize the assessment of risk. Once the new FDA recommendations are finalized, both the MGH Donor Center and the BWH/DFCI Kraft Family Blood Donor Center plan to implement them as soon as feasible.
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CHANGES TO ELIGIBILITY!
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.
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 (PDF: 16-year-old parental consent form)
- Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and no more than 350 pounds
- Donors must show a photo ID
- Download eligibility guidelines (PDF)
- Whole Blood: Every 56 days
- Platelets: Every 7 days
- Double Red Cells: Every 112 days
- 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 1 year from the date of their last treatment.
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 or completely removed and healed
There is a permanent deferral for donors with a history of:
- Multiple myeloma
- Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
- Colds: Donors are not eligible if they are not feeling well and healthy the day of donation.
- COVID19- Donors are eligible 10 days after the resolution of symptoms OR a positive test if remained asymptomatic (no symptoms)
- 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 3 months after date of last treatment.
- Heart Attack: Further evaluation is needed. Please email us.
- Hepatitis/Hepatitis Exposure: Donor is deferred for 12 months after hepatitis B or hepatitis C exposure.
- Viral Hepatitis: Donor with a history of infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) is indefinitely deferred, regardless of symptoms, spontaneous resolution, or treatment.
- 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.
- Transfusion: Donor is deferred for 3 months after a transfusion of blood or blood components.
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
The following risk factors require a 3-month deferral from the date of occurrence:
- Use of nonprescription drugs or steroids by needle in the last 3 months
- Have taken drugs or money for sex in the last 3 months
- Have had sex, even once, with someone who has taken money or drugs in exchange for sex
- Accidental needle stick
- Male who has had sex with another male
- Have had sexual contact in the past 3months with anyone described above
Donors taking medication to PREVENT HIV, such as Prep or PEP, must wait before donating. Anyone taking Truvada (tenofovir), Descovy (emtricitabine), Tivicay (dolutegravir), or Isentress (raltegravir) must wait 3 months since last dose, and anyone taking Apretude (cabotegravir) will be deferred for 2 years since last dose.
Donors who have ever taken medications to treat HIC, such as ART cannot donate.
Malarial-Endemic Areas: Donor is deferred for 3 months after travel to a malarial-endemic area. Please note we use the CDC’s Yellow Book to determine Malarial Risk – you can get more information here.
Donors who have lived in a malarial-endemic area are deferred for 3 years after moving to a non-malarial area. However, the 3 years MUST not include any visits to ANY malarial area. If a visit occurs, the 3-year deferral begins again.
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 3 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
- If you have ever had a pregnancy OR a blood transfusion, we ask that you donate whole blood prior to a platelet donation.