Who Can / Can’t Donate

“Thanks to wonderful people who give blood I lead a full and active life.”

Nisa, Blood Recipient

Who Can’t Give Blood?

Although most people are potentially able to give blood, some are not.

There are a variety of reasons why we might ask you not to give blood, but they fall into two main categories. Firstly, if evidence suggests that donating blood could potentially harm you, then to protect your safety we would ask you not to donate. Secondly, if evidence suggests that your donation could potentially harm the patient receiving it, then we would ask you not to donate.
This would include the situation where a specific behaviour may have put you at a higher risk of an infection which could be transmitted to a patient by blood.

Many of the rules implemented in the UK on who can give blood are a requirement of European law. However, there are a number of expert committees that regularly review the evidence relating to exclusions and deferrals from blood donation. Policies which specifically relate to the safety of blood for patients are recommended to the Government by the independent advisory committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO). A key part of their work is to ensure that the policies applied by the UK Blood Services are based on the best available scientific evidence.

If you are not able to give blood we know this can be disappointing. However, we hope you will understand that our overriding responsibility is to ensure the safety of donors and the safety of blood for patients.

Make sure you can give

  • Travel

    Travelled outside the UK within the past 6 months for business or a holiday?

  • Cardiovascular

    Do you presently have or have you had any heart conditions?

  • Infection

    Had any kind of infection within the past 2 weeks?

  • Antibiotics

    Taking a course or completed a course of antibiotics in the past 7 days?

  • Feel unwell

    Chesty cough, head cold, sore stomach, a sore throat or an active cold sore?

  • On hospital waiting list

    Are you waiting for treatment or are you currently undergoing medical tests?

  • Piercings and tattoos

    Had a tattoo or any skin piercing in the past 4 months?

  • Dental work

    Have you been to see a dentist in the past 7 days?