ABCs of eligibility for donating blood, platelets and plasma

Thank you for your interest in donating blood, platelets and plasma! Your donation today can make all the difference for someone tomorrow.

This page contains answers to common questions you might have before your appointment, to help determine if you’re able to donate.

Various factors can determine whether a person can donate, including medications, medical conditions, pregnancy, travel or even accessibility within our donor centres. Sometimes, it’s not possible to donate, or we may ask that you wait before donating again. We know your time is valuable, and it’s important to us that your donor experience is a positive one.

Please keep in mind that donor eligibility and ability to donate can change over time. Even if you can’t donate now, you may be able to do so in the future. If you have questions about your eligibility or ability to donate, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

If you discover you aren’t currently able to donate, there are several other meaningful ways you can join Canada’s Lifeline. Join the stem cell registry, register to become an organ and tissue donor, or consider becoming a financial donor or donating your time as a volunteer.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture performed with single-use disposable needles does not affect your ability to donate. If you are not sure what type of needles were used during your treatment, you must wait three (3) months before you can become eligible to donate.

Age

The minimum age to donate is 17. There is no upper age limit for donating in Canada.

For those between 17 and 23 years old, who have never donated before, there is a minimum height and weight requirement as outlined below. If you are below 147 cm (4’ 10”), you may become eligible when you turn 23.

If you are a first-time donor, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility.

Alcohol

Alcohol intoxication at the time of donation attempt does not allow donors to give informed consent to proceed with donation. Donors must not be intoxicated or under the influence of substances at the time of donation.

Allergies

If you have environmental or seasonal allergies, you are eligible to donate as long as you are feeling well at the time of your appointment.

Please remember to bring a list of your prescription and non-prescription medications with you to your appointment. If you are allergic to skin cleaning solution, adhesive medical tape or other medical supplies, please inform our clinic staff (alternatives are available for donor comfort and safety). Our team members will be happy to ensure your experience is as comfortable as possible.

If you experience an allergic reaction or are feeling unwell as a result of donation, please visit our donor health and safety page and/or call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Anemia

Anemia is the term used to describe a low level of hemoglobin (or healthy red blood cells).

There are many causes of anemia. These may include iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, blood breakdown (hemolysis), altered function of vital organs, various types of cancers, etc.

As donation leads to removal of blood, it can cause and worsen anemia. As such, people with anemia, as well as those who do not meet the hemoglobin thresholds, are not able to donate.

Learn more about Anemia

Antibiotics

If you have an infection, you should not donate blood and plasma. When taking medication for an infection, you may temporarily be unable to donate. Learn more about medications below. For additional information, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Asthma

You are eligible to donate as long as you are feeling well at the time of your appointment. Please remember to bring a list of any prescription and non-prescription medication with you to your appointment.

Birth control

People taking oral or other forms of birth control, as well as some hormonal supplementation, are eligible to donate. Learn more about medications below. For additional information, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Blood donation interval

To donate, returning donors must wait:

  • Whole blood donation: 56 days for donors registered as male, 84 days for donors registered as female
  • Plasma donation: 7 days for all donors. Plasma donation intervals may vary depending on the centre and whether there was any additional blood loss with a prior donation.
  • Platelet donation: 14 days

To confirm how often you can donate, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Blood transfusion

Eligibility to donate blood and plasma after receiving a transfusion varies. Blood and blood products include red blood cells, platelets, plasma, immunogloblulins (IVIg, SCIg), Rh immune globulin (RhIg), factor concentrates, etc.

Typically, you must wait six (6) months after receiving a blood or blood product from another person before you can donate blood.

If you have received a blood or blood product, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Cancer

Your eligibility to donate depends on the type of cancer you had and when it was treated.

Skin cancer:

  • Squamous cell or basal cell: You are eligible to donate if your treatments were successful. Some medications may require a temporary deferral after completing your treatment. Please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals to discuss your eligibility.
  • Melanoma: You are not eligible to donate.

For most types of cancer, you are eligible to donate five (5) years after your treatment is complete and you are cancer-free.

These include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Uterine cancer

Individuals with certain blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, are not eligible to donate.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Cannabis

Individuals who use cannabis may be eligible to donate. At the time of donation, donors must not be intoxicated as this prevents us from obtaining informed consent for blood donation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Due to the lack of consensus amongst medical professionals as to why chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) occurs, and a concern that it is caused by infectious agents that may be transfusion transmissible, individuals with CFS are not eligible to donate.

Cocaine

There is no deferral for cocaine use, except if used intravenously. If you have ever used cocaine intravenously, you are not eligible to donate. At the time of donation, donors must not be intoxicated as this prevents us from obtaining informed consent for blood donation.

Colds and flu

Please see COVID-19 criteria below. You are eligible to donate if you are:

  • Feeling completely well and fully recovered.
  • Not taking antibiotics.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

COVID-19

A person who has had a COVID-19 infection and was not hospitalized, must wait 14 days after full recovery or 14 days after a positive test, whichever is longer.

A person who has had COVID-19 and was hospitalized must wait 21 days after full recovery. For more information about eligibility, we ask donors to call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Learn more on our COVID-19 page.

 

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, variant (vCJD/Mad Cow)

CJD/vCJD is an incurable, progressive and life-threatening illness that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by an infectious agent called prions that is transmissible by blood. Prions cannot be detected in donated blood by testing, nor can they be removed.

People may acquire this illness through consumption of contaminated meat products while living in certain countries. It can also be acquired after exposure to medications or grafts/transplants from human sources.

People are unable to donate if they have spent:

  • A cumulative three (3) months or more in the United Kingdom between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996.
  • A cumulative five (5) years or more in France and/or Republic of Ireland between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 2001.

Crohn’s disease

People living with Crohn’s disease are not currently able to donate. Crohn’s disease can affect various parts of the gut, where erosions in the gut can introduce infection into the blood. This may only be detectable on endoscopy and may not cause symptoms.

Dental work

The deferral period for donating blood, plasma or platelets depends on the type of dental work you received.

  • For dental cleaning, filling, brace adjustment or crown restoration (such as bonding or veneers), you must wait until the day after your dental treatment to donate. For plasma donation, there is no deferral at our Plasma Donation Centres.
  • For dental extraction, root canal or dental/gum surgery, you must wait 72 hours after your treatment to donate or until you have fully recovered.
  • If you received a bone/gum graft (also called allograft) originating from an animal or human source, other than your own body for dental reconstruction, you must wait 12 months prior to donation.

Diabetes

If you have diabetes that is managed with diet and/or medications other than insulin, you can donate.

For those who are managing their blood sugar with insulin, you can donate as long as all of the following apply:

  • No symptoms or need for medical assistance for high or low blood sugar for previous three (3) months.
  • No foot ulcers currently requiring medical treatment.
  • No dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up.
  • For those with Type 1 diabetes, you have to have eaten within two (2) hours of making a donation.

Please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility further.

Epilepsy

You may be eligible to donate if you have been seizure-free for six (6) months. If you are taking medication to manage epilepsy, please consult our list of medications below or call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility.

False reactive test results

Every donation is tested for certain blood borne infections to maintain the safety of Canada’s blood supply. These tests are extremely good at detecting the presence of infections, called “true positives”. Sometimes these tests detect an infection even when it is not present, called “false positive”.

When we have a donation where our first set of tests detect an infection, we do additional testing to confirm these results. This helps us determine whether the tests were a true or a false positive.

Previously, anyone who tested positive, even if it was a false positive, was not eligible to donate. Recently, Health Canada approved a re-entry program for some false positive results to allow otherwise eligible donors to be re-tested after a six (6) month waiting period for certain infectious markers.

If you have received a false positive result in the past and would like to set up an appointment to be re-tested, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals.

Learn more about false reactive test results

Fibromyalgia

You are eligible to donate.

Geographic deferrals

Every time you donate, we ask about where you may have previously lived or travelled. This is because the places you’ve lived in and travelled to can expose you to different infections that may be transmitted by blood donation.

For instance, donors who have travelled to locations outside of Canada, the continental U.S. and Europe have a waiting period of 21 days after their return home before donating blood or plasma. These new criteria were introduced in February 2016, to identify donors at greater risk for acquiring illnesses spread by mosquitos such as Zika virus.

Other deferrals include those for malaria and variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD).

Because the risk of infection diminishes over time, people who have lived for six (6) months or longer in a country where malaria is prevalent are deferred for blood donation for three (3) years after departure from the country, but they can donate plasma.

Those who have visited a malaria risk area are deferred from blood donation for three (3) months after leaving that area, but they can donate plasma. If your visit lasted less than 24 hours, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility.

Because of the theoretical risk of vCJD, Health Canada concluded that deferring donors who had spent time in the following places balances the safety of Canada’s blood and plasma supply with the need for donors:

  • A cumulative three (3) months or more in the United Kingdom between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 1996.
  • A cumulative five (5) years or more in France and/or Republic of Ireland between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 2001.

As the patterns of disease, research, and our testing platforms change, we remain committed to continuously reviewing and updating our eligibility criteria and removing barriers to donation. Our efforts are focused on building a more inclusive donation process, while ensuring the safety and sufficiency of the blood supply.

Learn more about geographic deferrals

Gout

Donors are eligible to donate when feeling well, without any swollen joints, provided they meet all other screening criteria.

Heart

With some heart conditions such as a heart attack or coronary heart disease, you may be eligible to donate. Please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your condition.

Height

For those between 17 and 23 years old, who have never donated before, there is a minimum height and weight requirement as outlined below. If you are below 147 cm (4’ 10”), you may become eligible when you turn 23.

This is just one of multiple steps taken to reduce the risk of fainting/near-fainting (vasovagal reactions).

DONORS REGISTERED AS MALE
DONORS REGISTERED AS FEMALE

IF YOU ARE...

YOU MUST BE AT LEAST...

IF YOU ARE...YOU MUST BE AT LEAST...

169 cm (5’ 6”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

169 cm (5’ 6”)50 kg (110 lbs)

165 cm (5’ 5”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

165 cm (5’ 5”)

52 kg (115 lbs)

163 cm (5’ 4”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

163 cm (5’ 4”)54 kg (120 lbs)

160 cm (5’ 3”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

160 cm (5’ 3”)56 kg (124 lbs)

158 cm (5’ 2”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

158 cm (5’ 2”)58.5 kg (129 lbs)

155 cm (5’ 1”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

155 cm (5’ 1”)60 kg (133 lbs)

152 cm (5’)

50 kg (110 lbs)

152 cm (5’)62.5 kg (138 lbs)

150 cm (4’ 11”)

52 kg (115 lbs)

150 cm (4’ 11”)64 kg (142 lbs)

147 cm (4’ 10”)

54 kg (120 lbs)

147 cm (4’ 10”)66 kg (146 lbs)

Less than 147 cm (4’10")

You may become eligible when you turn 23 or move up the chart. Keep in mind that all donors, regardless of age, must weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs.) to be considered eligible to donate blood and plasma.

Less than 147 cm (4’10")You may become eligible when you turn 23 or move up the chart. Keep in mind that all donors, regardless of age, must weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs.) to be considered eligible to donate blood and plasma.

Why do you need to know my gender before I donate?

Canadian Blood Services values all blood donors and understands that selecting either male or female may not align with how some individuals identify. Unfortunately, due to limitations of the binary registration computer software system we use, all donors still need to register as either male or female.

We know this isn’t ideal, and we understand there is a distinct difference between biological sex and gender. We are actively working on changes to our processes in consultation with trans and non-binary community members, as well as the registration software owner, to make our registration and screening practices more inclusive.

Hemochromatosis

Hereditary hemochromatosis is a common inherited disorder of iron metabolism that leads to accumulation of iron in vital organs.

For those who are otherwise eligible to donate, whole blood can be collected every 56 days for donors registered as male and every 84 days for donors registered as female.

For many individuals with hemochromatosis who have preserved organ function and are otherwise also eligible, whole blood donation is another effective way to help manage iron levels.

For those who are donating whole blood at Canadian Blood Services and also participating in therapeutic phlebotomies, there must be a minimum of seven (7) days between phlebotomy and whole blood donation.

Individuals who have developed iron accumulation causing organ compromise are not eligible to donate whole blood at a Canadian Blood Services donor centre. Therapeutic phlebotomies can be arranged through the treating health care practitioner under medical supervision. Once organ function improves, individuals with hemochromatosis can become eligible to donate whole blood.

If you’re looking for more information about hemochromatosis, click here.

Hemoglobin

Hemoglobin is a protein that contains iron. It helps deliver oxygen to and removes carbon dioxide from organs and tissues. Blood donation, through removal of red blood cells, leads to removal of hemoglobin. As a result, donors can develop low hemoglobin levels or anemia.

To ensure donors have sufficient blood levels after donation and to prevent anemia, a minimum hemoglobin level is required at each donation. This required hemoglobin level is slightly higher than the level that is used to diagnose anemia.

Hemoglobin level is tested using a fingerpick test before each donation. For whole blood, platelets and some types of plasma donation, donors registered as male must have a hemoglobin level of at least 130 g/L and donors registered as females must have a hemoglobin level of at least 125 g/L.

For source plasma donation, the hemoglobin level must be at least 125 g/L.

Learn more about hemoglobin

Hepatitis

Donors with a history of hepatitis may be eligible to donate six (6) months after fully recovering unless the cause was due to hepatitis B or C virus.

If you ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, you are not eligible to donate, even if you have never been sick from the infection.

If you live with or have had sexual contact with a person who has or had hepatitis, call us to speak with one of our trained professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility.

HIV

Those living with HIV or who have tested positive for HIV are not eligible to donate.

People who have had sexual contact with a person who has tested positive for HIV are not eligible to donate for 12 months since the last sexual contact.

People who take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), must wait four (4) months since last use to donate, as low levels of HIV may be missed in testing. PrEP and PEP medications can interfere with HIV testing which we rely on as part of our multi-layered approach to safety. HIV care has reached a point where people’s viral loads can be undetectable. Undetectable equals untransmissible (U=U) only applies to sexual transmission of HIV. Unfortunately, even those who have an undetectable viral load may transmit the virus through blood transfusion. The chance of transmission is much higher with a bag of blood or blood component (plasma, platelets) due to much higher total amount of virus that the recipient is exposed to.

For additional information, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Hormone supplementation

People may take hormonal supplements for many different indications.

Hormones including testosterone, progesterones, estrogens or sex hormone suppression may be used for regulating menstrual symptoms, contraception, sexual function, gender affirmation, osteoporosis treatment or supplementing low levels. These indications are not a cause for deferral.

Hormone therapy may also be utilized to treat other conditions such as breast cancer, adrenal insufficiency, changes in thyroid activity, etc. Please refer to specific sections on this page for further information.

To learn about eligibility relating to specific hormone containing products, please refer to the medication section.

For additional information, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Iron

When people donate blood, their body’s iron levels also decrease. Eventually, low iron levels lead to low hemoglobin/blood count (anemia). People with anemia, as well as those who do not meet the hemoglobin thresholds, are not able to donate.

Iron deficiency is common. Those who donate regularly or have heavier menstrual blood losses, recent pregnancy, or a meat-free diet are most likely to develop iron deficiency.

One laboratory test used to determine iron levels is called ferritin. A low ferritin result is a reliable indicator of iron deficiency. A high ferritin result may indicate presence of hemochromatosis.

Learn more about iron

Learn more about ferritin testing

Malaria

People who have had malaria in the past are not eligible to donate whole blood or platelets. Malaria is a blood borne illness, which is why our eligibility criteria are so strict. The parasite that causes malaria can lie dormant long after someone has recovered from the disease. This means that no matter how much time has passed, there remains a small but significant risk that someone who has had malaria at some point in their lives may still carry the malarial parasite in their red blood cells and platelets.

However, you may be able to donate plasma if it has been six (6) months or more since you have recovered from malaria. This is because the process used to manufacture medications from plasma removes the parasite that causes malaria.

If you have travelled to an area where malaria is prevalent, you may still be able to donate blood or plasma. Depending on how long you were in the affected region, the waiting period for blood donation can range from three (3) months to three (3) years. There is no waiting period for donating plasma.

As the patterns of disease, research, and our testing platforms advance and mature, we remain committed to continuously reviewing and updating our eligibility criteria and removing barriers to donation. Our efforts are focused on building a more inclusive donation process, while ensuring the safety and sufficiency of the blood supply.

To learn more about geography-related deferrals due to malaria risk, visit the travel eligibility section of our website or call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

If you are considering donating plasma and would like to learn if you are able to do so, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Medication

For vaccines, please see Vaccinations

Most medications do not prevent you from donating. Some medications may impact eligibility because:

  • they may help manage health conditions that can change eligibility, or;
  • when present, even in small quantities, in the donated blood or blood product can be harmful to the recipient, or;
  • may make certain parts of the blood not usable for transfusion therapy.

If you are currently taking medication and want to know if you are eligible to donate, review our list of acceptable and unacceptable medications below. If your medication is not listed, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Please bring your list of medications to your donation appointment.

COMMONLY USED MEDICATIONS THAT ARE ACCEPTABLE WHEN DONATING BLOOD OR PLASMA.
  • Acebutolol (Monitan, Sectral)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Allopurinol
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Amlodipine (Norvasc)
  • Aspirin
  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Betaxolol
  • Birth Control Pill (oral contraceptive, oral hormonal supplementation)
  • Bisoprolol (Monocor)
  • Buproprion (Wellbutrin, Zyban)
  • Buspirone (Buspar)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Cetirizine (Reactine)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Clonidine (Catapres)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Desipramine
  • Diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • Doxazosin (Cardura)
  • Doxepin (Sinequan)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Escitalopram (Cipralex, Lexapro)
  • Esomepazole (Nexium)
  • Felodipine (Plendil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Hydralazine
  • Hydroxyzine (Atarax)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Indomethacin (Indocid)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Levothyroxine (Eltroxin, Synthroid)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)
  • Nadolol (Corgard)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Nifedipine (Adalat)
  • Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
  • Oxazepam
  • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Penbutolol
  • Perindopril (Coversyl)
  • Phenelzine
  • Piroxicam
  • Prazosin (minipress)
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Prochlorperazine (Compazine)
  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
  • Ramipril (Altace)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • Salbutamol (Ventolin)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Tamsulosin (Flomax)
  • Terazosin (Hytrin)
  • Trazodone
  • Trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
  • Venlafaxine Xr (Effexor)
  • Verapamil (Isoptin)
  • Vortioxetine (Trintellix, Brintellix)
  • Zopiclone (Imovane)
COMMONLY USED MEDICATIONS THAT AFFECT PLATELET FUNCTION.

For platelet donors only: Platelet donors require a waiting period after taking the following medications. These are some of the medications that inhibit platelet function. Note the waiting period after the asterisk symbol (*).

  • Aspirin *72 hours
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix) *14 days
  • Diclofenac/Misoprostol (Arthrotec) *24 hours
  • Ibuprofen (Advil) *24 hours
  • Indomethacin (Indocid) *24 hours
  • Naproxen (Aleve) *72 hours
  • Piroxicam *14 days

If you have questions about your eligibility, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Menstrual cycle/menstrual cramps

You are eligible to donate. Hormone supplementation, birth control or oral contraception pills that may be prescribed for regulating menstrual cycles are not a cause for deferral either.

Mental health

You are eligible to donate if you are feeling well at the time of your appointment and meet all other criteria.

If you are currently taking medication for your mental health, please review our list of acceptable and unacceptable medications as well.

If your medication is not listed, or you have additional questions about eligibility, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283). Please bring a list of your medications to your donation appointment.

Monkeypox

If you have had monkeypox or have had contact with someone who has monkeypox, you should wait 42 days from the start of symptoms or the day of last contact before your donation appointment, whichever is longer. If you have questions, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility.

Multiple sclerosis

People living with multiple sclerosis are currently not able to donate. Little is known about why and how this condition occurs. We continue to evaluate the eligibility of people living with multiple sclerosis.

Organ/tissue transplants (grafts)

Eligibility requirements after an organ or tissue transplant/graft vary.

  • If you received a tissue graft from one area of your own body to another, you are eligible once fully recovered from the procedure.
  • You must wait 12 months after receiving any type of tissue from another person or animal, including dental grafts, before becoming eligible to donate.
  • If you ever received a dura mater (brain covering) transplant, you are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

If you have questions about your eligibility, please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Piercings

Donors must wait three (3) months after having a body piercing to ensure complete healing.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is not a cause for deferral.

Pregnancy, lactation, breast feeding/chest feeding

While pregnant, donors are not eligible to donate. 

During pregnancy and lactation, the body has an increased need for the nutrient iron to support the development of the fetus and production of milk. Hemoglobin levels also decrease during pregnancy. Pausing blood donation can help maintain robust hemoglobin and iron stores. 

If you reside in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton or Vancouver, we encourage you to consider donating your cord blood to Canadian Blood Services Cord Blood Bank.

After childbirth, donors are asked to wait six (6) months before returning to donate. 

After a pregnancy loss or termination, donors are asked to wait six (6) weeks. This time frame allows for a wellness check and to ensure no immediate complications have occurred.  

Donors with Rh negative blood type who have been pregnant may have received a blood-derived protein called Rh immune globulin (also called WinRho/RhoGAM). This injection prevents the person from developing antibodies against the blood protein RhD. As this is a blood-derived product that can interfere with testing of the donated blood, donors must wait six (6) months before donating.

Sexual behaviour

All donors are asked about sexual behaviour. Donors must wait three (3) months after anal sex with a new partner or multiple sexual partners.

Learn more about sexual behaviour-based screening.

Sexually transmitted infections

Deferral periods for donors with a sexually transmitted infection vary.

  • For chlamydia, one must wait until it has been completely treated (no symptoms and antibiotics completed).
  • For syphilis and gonorrhea, donors must wait at least 12 months after completing treatment before returning for blood donation.
  • For genital herpes, you are eligible to donate once lesions have healed.
  • Venereal warts (HPV/human papilloma virus) are not a cause for deferral.

If you have questions about sexually transmitted infections and donor eligibility, call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals.

Skin condition, rash, acne

Most skin conditions are acceptable if the skin over the vein used to collect blood or plasma is not affected.

If you have a skin infection, wait until the infection has cleared before donating.

Most medications to control acne will not disqualify you from donating.

If you have a skin condition and are wondering if you can donate, call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals.

Skin laceration and/or stitches

You are eligible to donate once stitches are removed and laceration is healed provided there is no infection, and you are not taking antibiotics.

Surgery

Eligibility after surgery varies based on reason for the surgery and healing from the procedure.

If the condition for which the surgery was performed is not a reason for deferral, individuals must wait until fully recovered and feeling well prior to donating.

If you received any blood products, you must wait six (6) months before donating.

If you have recently had surgery, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals to discuss your eligibility.

Stroke (CVA) or mini-stroke (TIA)

For those who have had a stroke (also called cerebrovascular accident, CVA) or a mini-stroke (also called transient ischemic attack, TIA), you must wait six (6) months before donation to ensure there is time for complete recovery.

At the time of donation, we also ask that donors ensure they do not have any medical restrictions to pursuing everyday activities.

If you have had a stroke and would like to discuss your eligibility further, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

If you have been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, you are no longer eligible to donate. This does not apply to discoid lupus (a skin limited condition).

Tattoos

You must wait three (3) months after getting a tattoo (includes microblading and permanent makeup) to ensure complete healing before returning to donate.

Travel

If you are planning a trip outside of Canada or have just returned, be sure you are informed about how your destination may affect your ability to donate.

Visit our travel page for more information.

Ulcerative colitis

Donors are eligible to donate once they have entirely recovered or have undergone colon resection and have been off medications to control the inflammation for five (5) years.

Vaccinations

If you have recently been vaccinated, you may be temporarily deferred from donating blood or plasma. Review our full list of deferral periods for vaccinations below.

ILLNESS

VACCINE BRAND NAMES
This list is not inclusive of all brand names 

WAITING PERIOD

Anthrax 

None

Chicken Pox (varicella) 

ProQuad, Varilrix, Varivax III

3 months

Cholera

Dukoral (oral)

None

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 vaccines given in Canada

None

Diarrhea (travellers)

Dukoral (oral)

None

Diphtheria

Adacel, Boostrix

None

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis

Boostrix

None

Encephalitis, Japanese

Ixiaro

3 weeks

 Hepatitis A

Avaxim, Havrix, Vaqta

7 days

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B

Twinrix

4 weeks

Hepatitis B

Engerix B, Recombivax–HB

4 weeks 

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Shingrix

None

 

Zostavax II

3 months

Human Papillomavirus

Cervarix, Gardasil 9

None

Influenza

Afluria tetra, Agriflu, Arepanrix (H1N1), Flucelvax Quad, Flumist intranasal, Fluviral, Influvac, Intanza, Panvax (H1N1), Vaxigrip

None

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

MMR II, Priorix

4 weeks

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, varicella

MMRV, Priorix Tetra, ProQuad

3 months

Measles (Rubeola)

MMR II

4 weeks

Meningococcal  

Bexsero, Menactra, Menjugate, Menveo, Nimenrix, Trumenba

None

Monkeypox

Imvamune

None

Mumps

MMR II

4 weeks

Paratyphoid 

None

Pertussis

Adacel, Boostrix

None

Plague 

None

Pneumococcal

Pneumovax 23, Prevnar 13

None

Polio

Sabin oral polio vaccine (oral)

6 weeks

 

Salk Imovax, IPV (injection)

None

Rabies (pre-exposure immunization) 

Imovax Rabies, RabAvert

None

Rabies (post-exposure immunization)

Imovax Rabies or RabAvert only (no immune globulin given) 

None

 

Rabies Immune Globulin - HyperRAB, Imogam rabies, Kamrab

12 months

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever 

None

Rubella (German Measles) 

MMR II

4 weeks

Smallpox

Imvamune

None

 

Vaccine other than Imvamune, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to verify eligibility

 

Tetanus

Adacel, Boostrix

None

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis

Adacel

None

Tick Borne Encephalitis

None

Typhoid 

Vivotif (oral)

4 weeks

 

Typhim Vi

Typhus 

None

Yellow Fever 

 YF-Vax

4 weeks 

Weight

To donate blood or plasma, you must also weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs.). If you are between the ages of 17 and 23, and have never donated before, you must meet our weight and height criteria.

This is just one of multiple steps taken to reduce the risk of fainting/near-fainting (vasovagal reactions).

Please review the table below to determine your eligibility.

Although there are no upper weight limits for eligibility to donate, our donation beds do have weight restrictions as per their manufacturers to ensure no harm or discomfort to the donor.

The donation beds in mobile donation settings can safely accommodate maximum weights of 350 lbs. or 500 lbs., depending on the location. Beds in our permanent donor centres can safely accommodate up to a maximum weight of 300 lbs. or 400 lbs., depending on the location. At select facilities we do have donation beds that can accommodate a maximum weight of 600 lbs.

We do our best to ensure our donor centres and mobile events are as accessible as possible, but it is always a good idea to phone us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) prior to your appointment, so that we can ensure you do not encounter any unexpected barriers to donation.

To donate plasma at one of our plasma donor centres, you need to be at least 50 kg (110 lbs.) and 145 cm (4’10’’).

If you are a first-time donor or to confirm your eligibility to donate plasma, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

DONORS REGISTERED AS MALE
DONORS REGISTERED AS FEMALE

IF YOU ARE...

YOU MUST BE AT LEAST...

IF YOU ARE...YOU MUST BE AT LEAST...

169 cm (5’ 6”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

169 cm (5’ 6”)50 kg (110 lbs)

165 cm (5’ 5”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

165 cm (5’ 5”)

52 kg (115 lbs)

163 cm (5’ 4”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

163 cm (5’ 4”)54 kg (120 lbs)

160 cm (5’ 3”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

160 cm (5’ 3”)56 kg (124 lbs)

158 cm (5’ 2”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

158 cm (5’ 2”)58.5 kg (129 lbs)

155 cm (5’ 1”)

50 kg (110 lbs)

155 cm (5’ 1”)60 kg (133 lbs)

152 cm (5’)

50 kg (110 lbs)

152 cm (5’)62.5 kg (138 lbs)

150 cm (4’ 11”)

52 kg (115 lbs)

150 cm (4’ 11”)64 kg (142 lbs)

147 cm (4’ 10”)

54 kg (120 lbs)

147 cm (4’ 10”)66 kg (146 lbs)

Less than 147 cm (4’10")

You may become eligible when you turn 23 or move up the chart. Keep in mind that all donors, regardless of age, must weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs.) to be considered eligible to donate blood and plasma.

Less than 147 cm (4’10")You may become eligible when you turn 23 or move up the chart. Keep in mind that all donors, regardless of age, must weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs.) to be considered eligible to donate blood and plasma.

Why do you need to know my gender before I donate?

Canadian Blood Services values all blood donors and understands that selecting either male or female may not align with how some individuals identify. Unfortunately, due to limitations of the binary registration computer software system we use, all donors still need to register as either male or female.

We know this isn’t ideal, and we understand there is a distinct difference between biological sex and gender. We are actively working on changes to our processes in consultation with trans and non-binary community members, as well as the registration software owner, to make our registration and screening practices more inclusive.

Accessibility in donor centres

Canadian Blood Services welcomes and encourages all individuals who are eligible to join Canada’s Lifeline and become regular blood, platelet and plasma donors.

We recognize, however, there may be physical and process barriers to donation that currently exist in our donor centres. We know that these barriers can cause hurt and frustration and we are working to do better. We are committed to making our spaces as accessible and inclusive as possible for all.

If you have questions about your ability to donate, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Blind, partially-sighted and low-vision donors

Individuals who are blind, partially-sighted or who have low-vision can have a Canadian Blood Services employee read any required information to you during the screening process and assist you to the donation floor (if required).

Service animals may accompany you into all permanent donation centres. In most centres, you may be accompanied by a service animal throughout the donation process.

More information about services animals in donor centres can be found below.

Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing donors

If you require assistance from a sign language interpreter, we would be happy to arrange for a qualified interpreter to accompany you through the donation process. Due to Health Canada regulations, only certified, non-related interpreters are permitted in screening booths with donors.

Click here for more information about sign language interpreting services.

Language interpretation services

Our donor questionnaire is available in English and French, and we operate in French at select donor centres. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to provide language interpreters, unless we are booking appointments for a large group of donors (minimum 20 people).

Due to Health Canada requirements, only certified language interpreters and Canadian Blood Services screeners are allowed in screening booths with donors.

We recognize there is a need to evolve our translation services and we are actively exploring options to offer more multilingual services.

For information about sign language interpreting services for Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing donors, click here.

Service animals in donor centres

In most of our donation environments, you may be accompanied by your service animal throughout the donation process. All of our permanent donor centres permit service animals. Rarely, restrictions may be imposed by property owners of mobile donation sites.

If for any reason you are required to separate from your service animal, your service animal will be able to wait for you in a safe location, and an employee will offer you any necessary assistance.

Support persons

Individuals who require a support person are welcome to have them accompany you during your appointment. However, we do not allow support persons to participate in the confidential screening portion of the donation process, as per Health Canada regulations.

A support person (personal support worker, family member, friend, etc.) may assist a donor requiring physical assistance onto a donation bed. Our employees aren’t trained to transfer donors onto our donation beds.

Wheelchair and mobility aid users

Individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids may self-report their height and weight during screening at our dedicated plasma donor centres and other donor centres where we collect plasma and/or platelets.

We unfortunately do not have height-adjustable donation beds and our employees aren’t trained to transfer donors onto our donation beds. However, you may bring a support person (personal support worker, family member, friend, etc.) to assist you onto a donation bed.

We do require that all donors use our donation beds, to ensure a consistent and safe donation experience. We need to be able to ensure that your feet can be elevated, in the event that you feel faint. Our employees are trained to rest and adjust your arm in a certain way on the donation bed but are not trained to maneuver donors’ wheelchairs in case of an emergency.

In the very unlikely but serious event that someone requires additional measures such as CPR, our donation beds can ensure these measures are performed safely.