Can I Donate?

Many potential blood donors believe that they can’t donate blood due to medical or other reasons. But whether you’ve heard or read information about donation restrictions or been turned down in the past, please do not self defer. You may be able to say “Yes I can!” and share your power through blood donation. If you have questions about any of the subjects below, please contact us for more information.

Anemia/Low Iron

Anemia is a condition that, if caused by low iron body reserves, can be corrected with a change in diet. Eating many types of red meat, fortified cereal and leafy green vegetables may help. Find out more about low iron and foods high in iron here.


While many medications may prevent you from giving blood, you may still be able to donate while taking medications in the treatment of non-infectious diseases such as arthritis, chronic pain, gout, etc.

High Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure is under control, you may still be able to donate blood while taking most medications for high blood pressure.


If your diabetes is being treated and is under control, you are most likely able to donate blood. You should let your doctor know that you plan to donate.


Most localized skin cancers are not a reason to stop you from donating blood. Because many different types of cancer exist, we will ask you a few questions regarding your diagnosis, and in some cases the blood center medical director may make the final determination on the deferral. Most often, people who are free of relapse a year after completion of treatment are able to donate blood.

Tattoos and Body Piercing

People who received a tattoo at a state-licensed and regulated facility are now eligible to donate once the area has healed. People who received a tattoo at a non-regulated facility must wait 12-months before they can donate.

People who received any type of body piercing done with single use equipment are now eligible to donate once the area has healed. All other types of piercings require a 12-month wait before donating.


OneBlood welcomes blood donations from donors 16 years old and older. 16 year-old donors, however, must present a signed permission form from their parent or a guardian before the donation.

And you are never too old to donate. If you are in good health, and qualify for other eligibility guidelines, you can donate blood regardless of age. A number of regular donors over the age of 80 give blood with OneBlood.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) or “Mad Cow”

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented regulations to protect the blood supply against the risk of mad cow disease, variant Creutzfeldt- Jacob Disease (vCJD), a fatal infection of the brain and nerve tissue. Currently, blood donors are indefinitely deferred if: 

  • 3 months cumulative time spent in the U.K. (i.e., England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands) including military service between 1980 to 1996.
  • 5 years cumulative time spent in France or Ireland from 1980 to 2001. Note that this assessment does not include time spent in the U.K, which is evaluated separately.
  • History of ever receiving a blood transfusion in the U.K. (i.e., England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands), France, or Ireland from 1980 to the present.

Please call our Donor Advocacy department at 888-936-6283 extension 33858, if you have previously been: 

  • Deferred for 5 years of cumulative time in Europe other than in France or Ireland
  • Deferred for military service in Europe outside of France, Ireland or UK (i.e., England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands)

Malaria Deferral

People who travel to countries where malaria is endemic will be deferred from donating blood for three months upon returning to the United States.

Surgery or Minor Illnesses

Donors are required to feel well at the time of donation, so a cold, flu or allergies may temporarily prevent someone from donating. Donors must wait at least 24 hours for many minor surgeries, including dental work. Donors should rely on our screening process to determine surgery or illness deferrals. Many times the blood center medical director may make this determination.


Pregnant women are not eligible to donate blood, but they become eligible six weeks after giving birth. Women who are nursing are encouraged to drink plenty of water both before and after donating blood.

Because of a medical condition known TRALI (transfusion-related acute lung injury), blood centers may question women about prior pregnancies. The question is intended to protect the recipient of the donated blood, since pregnancy may cause women to develop antibodies that could harm a recipient patient.

FDA Policy Regarding Men Who Have Sex With Men

OneBlood’s role is to provide safe, available and affordable blood to its hospital partners and their patients. The blood center is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a regulated agency, OneBlood, like all blood centers in the United States, is required by law to follow all rules, guidelines and deferral policies put in place by the FDA. Click here to read more.

Can I Donate


How You Can Help

Blood Donor Basics

Blood Donor Basics

Your health is important to us, and we want to help you maintain it.

Blood Donation FAQs

Hosting a Blood Drive

Your help as our community partner is essential to the blood supply.

Donation Methods

Donation Methods

Let your blood type lead the way to donate your powerful lifesaving gift.

Donation Methods

Share Your Story

Help your community understand the impact blood donation has.

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