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Temporary Deferrals

Prospective blood and/or bone marrow donors may be unable to donate for reasons that could either compromise their own health or the safety of the blood supply or marrow product.

Common reasons why people may be temporarily deferred are listed below. This is not a comprehensive list owing to the many factors that can determine a donor’s eligibility. If you have any questions whatsoever, please contact one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

*Temporary Deferral Criteria are subject to change.

  1. Minor Illness
  2. Drugs/Medications
  3. Dental Work
  4. Low Hemoglobin Counts
  5. Tattoos/Body Piercing
  6. Diabetes
  7. Pregnancy
  8. HIV High Risk Activities
  9. Exposure to Disease/Geographical Deferrals
  10. Recent Major Surgery
  11. Recent Vaccinations

1. Minor illness

Donors are required to feel well at the time of donation. A cold, flu or allergies may prevent someone from donating.

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2. Drugs/Medications

Some medications, or the underlying cause for taking the medication may require a temporary deferral. If you are taking any drugs/medications and would like to give blood, please contact one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Oral or intranasal use of street drugs/narcotics will result in a temporary deferral.

Taking certain medications may also temporarily defer someone from donating bone marrow. Donors are required to postpone donation for six months following the last dose of some medications.

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3. Dental Work

For a cleaning or a filling, donors must wait until the day after treatment before donating blood. For an extraction, root canal or dental surgery, donors must wait 72 hours before donating blood - provided there is full recovery.

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4. Low Hemoglobin Counts

Canadian Blood Services temporarily defers blood donors whose hemoglobin copper sulfate test falls below the standard of 12.5 g/dL.

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5. Tattoos/Body Piercing

Donors must wait six months after having a tattoo or body piercing before donating blood or bone marrow. The reason for this temporary deferral is the increased risk of Hepatitis C and other infections associated with tattoos and piercing. Other similar procedures that may fall under this category include acupuncture and electrolysis.

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6. Diabetes

If you have diabetes that is treated by diet or oral hypoglycemics, you may be eligible to donate blood. It is important to note that each donor is different, and the use of certain medications or other underlying conditions may be cause for deferral. Please call the Canadian Blood Services location closest to you and ask to speak to someone on the Medical staff. If your diabetes is treated with insulin, you are unable to donate blood. Please note that this information is subject to change. Final eligibility determination rests with the screening staff at the donor clinic.

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7. Pregnancy

Donors are temporarily ineligible to donate blood while pregnant. There is also a six-month waiting period after giving birth before the donor may be eligible to donate blood.

Women who breastfeed are not eligible to donate blood during the first six months of breastfeeding.

There is a six-week temporary ineligibility period for women who miscarry or terminate a pregnancy.

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8. HIV High Risk Activities

Being the sexual partner of someone who has participated in high risk activities (other than the sexual partner of someone who has tested positive for HIV) will result in a temporary deferral.

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9. Exposure to Disease/Geographical Deferrals

Exposure to diseases, such as malaria or hepatitis, may result in a temporary deferral. Please contact your local blood centre for further information.

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10. Recent Major Surgery

If you have had surgery recently, please speak to your local blood centre regarding your eligibility.

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11. Recent Vaccinations

Recent vaccinations may result in a temporary deferral. For example, there is a two-day deferral period after receiving a shot for influenza (the flu). Please note that this information is subject to change. Final eligibility determination rests with the screening staff at the donor clinic.

Deferral periods for common vaccinations.

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