Donor Eligibility

Who Can Donate Blood?

Anyone who is 17 years old , weighs at least 110 pounds, is in general good health, and meets the eligibility requirements may give blood. All donors must provide a photo ID or two other forms of identification, including date of birth.

Note: By law, individuals 17-years or older are not required to have parental consent to give blood (click here and read section 709 for more information on the law). 

Donation Requirements

  • Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days.
  • Platelet donors (plateletpheresis) can donate approximately every two weeks (14 days). Donors are eligible to give platelets if they have a height, weight and platelet count ratio that is conducive to giving.
  • Double Red Cell (ALYX) donors can donate every four months (112 days). Women need to be at least 5’5″ and 150 pounds and men need to be at least 5’1″ and 130 pounds to make a double red cell donation.

Donors

Donors are required to show a photo ID or two other forms of ID. They must be at least 17 years-old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health:

  • No active cold or flu-like symptoms on donation day, including a fever, sore throat, or diarrhea. Those on antibiotics for infection must wait 24 hours after they are finished to give blood.
  • Donors who received a tattoo must wait 12 months to donate unless it was applied in a state-regulated facility.  If applied in a state-regulated facility, donors are eligible to donate in 14 days provided the tattoo or piercing site is healed.  In the mid-Atlantic area, Delaware regulates these establishments; Maryland and Pennsylvania do not.
  • Anyone who has had gonorrhea or syphilis (VD) in the last 12 months will be deferred.
  • Those at risk for AIDS:
    • Anyone infected with the AIDS virus (HIV) - indefinite deferral
    • Anyone who has ever used illegal IV drugs (using needles) - indefinite deferral
    • Any male who has had sex with another male, in the past 12 months - 12 months deferral
    • Anyone who has had sex in exchange for money or drugs - indefinite deferral
    • Anyone with hemophilia who has received clotting factor concentrates
  • Those who have had recent major surgery or have a history of hepatitis, cancer, heart disease or lung disease may be deferred.

For more specific deferral information, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.

Travel Guidelines for Blood Donation

To protect the blood supply and to comply with regulations and safety guidelines, blood banks defer donors who have travelled to certain parts of the world. These rules are in place due to a potential travel-related risk of contracting an infection that may be transmitted through blood transfusion.  If you have questions or need more information, please call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.

Recommendations Before and After Donating

  • Stay hydrated – drink 8-10 glasses of water a day leading up to your blood donation and avoid highly caffeinated energy drinks.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat a substantial meal within 3 hours before giving blood.
  • After giving blood, avoid participating in strenuous physical labor or athletic activities for 24 hours. Resume normal activities the next day.
  • PLATELET DONORS: No aspirin, or products containing aspirin, for at least 48 hours before your appointment. Do not take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, such as Ibuprofen, for 24 hours before your appointment. Tylenol is acceptable.

On Medication?

The FDA has provided a list of restricted medications that are cause for deferral. In addition, anti-infective medications such as antibiotics and anti-virals may be cause for deferral. Most other medications are acceptable, including anti-depressants. 

Diabetics can give blood provided they don’t have complications associated with the disease.

For more information on current eligibility requirements, call 1 888-8BLOOD8. Blood Bank staff will be happy to discuss them with you.

Please Note

Have more questions?  Check out our frequently asked questions page.

Blood donors are needed every day.
If you are able to give blood, please join our efforts to save lives on Delmarva!