ABCs of eligibility

You may not be eligible to donate if your health and/or the safety of Canada’s blood supply are at risk. Detailed below are common reasons why we defer some donors. If you have questions or 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).


Reasons why you may not be eligible:

Alcohol

Any evidence of intoxication or inability to give an informed consent will prevent you from donating.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture performed with disposable or single-use 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 six months before you can become eligible to donate.

Age

To become a blood donor in Canada you must be at least 17 years old and meet our minimum height and weight requirements, particularly if you are between 17 and 23 years old.  

If you are between 17 and 23 years old, and never donated before, you must meet our height and weight requirements outlined in the table below. 

MALES 

IF YOU ARE... 

YOU MUST BE AT LEAST ... 

169 cm (5’ 6”) 

OK TO DONATE 

165 cm (5’ 5”) 

OK TO DONATE 

163 cm (5’ 4”) 

OK TO DONATE 

160 cm (5’ 3”) 

OK TO DONATE 

158 cm (5’ 2”) 

OK TO DONATE 

155 cm (5’ 1”) 

OK TO DONATE 

152 cm (5’) 

50 kg (110 lb) 

150 cm (4’ 11”) 

52 kg (115 lb) 

147 cm (4' 10”) 

54 kg (120 lb) 

Less that 147 cm (4'10")Sorry, you are not eligible

FEMALES 

IF YOU ARE... 

YOU MUST BE AT LEAST... 

169 cm (5’ 6”) 

50 kg (110 lb) 

165 cm (5’ 5”) 

52 kg (115 lb) 

163 cm (5’ 4”) 

54 kg (120 lb) 

160 cm (5’ 3”) 

56 kg (124 lb) 

158 cm (5’ 2”) 

58.5 kg (129 lb) 

155 cm (5’ 1”) 

60 kg (133 lb) 

152 cm (5’) 

62.5 kg (138 lb) 

150 cm (4’ 11”) 

64 kg (142 lb) 

147 cm (4' 10”) 

66 kg (146 lb) 

Less that 147 cm (4'10")Sorry, you are not eligible

If you are below 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. 

Allergies

You are eligible to donate as long as you are feeling well at the time of your appointment. Remember to bring any prescription medication with you to your appointment.

Antibiotics

If you have an acute infection, you should not donate blood. When taking medication for an infection, you may temporarily be unable to donate.

Learn more about acceptable and unacceptable medication under our Medication tab below. If you are on medication and wish to donate, 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 not experiencing difficulty breathing and generally feeling well at the time of your appointment. Remember to bring any prescription medication with you to your appointment.

Birth Control

Women taking oral or other forms of birth control are eligible to donate.

Blood Pressure

We check your blood pressure test at donor appointment. You are not eligible to donate if your systolic pressure (the top number) is below 90 mm Hg or above 180 mm Hg, or if your diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is below 50 mm Hg or above 100 mm Hg. “Hg” is a measurement of pressure in terms of millimetres of mercury.

Blood Transfusion

Eligibility to donate blood after receiving a transfusion varies. Typically, you must wait six months after receiving a blood transfusion from another person before you can donate blood. If you have had a transfusion, 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 after treatment. 

    • Melanoma - You are not eligible to donate. 

For most types of cancer, you are eligible to donate five 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 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). 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

We defer donors with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — even if their condition is not active — out of concern for their health.

Colds and Flu

You are eligible to donate if you are:  

  • Feeling well. 
  • Able to participate in day-to-day activities. 
  • Not taking antibiotics. 
  • Not coughing up phlegm.  

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). 

Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, Variant (vCJD/Mad Cow)

You are not eligible to donate if you have spent: 

  • A cumulative total of three months or more in the United Kingdom (UK) between January 1980 and December 31, 1996. 

  • A cumulative total of three months or more in France between January 1980 and December 31, 1996. 

  • A cumulative total of five years or more in Western Europe outside the U.K. or France from January 1, 1980 through December 31, 2007. Western European countries affected are Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. 

  • A cumulative total of six months or more in Saudi Arabia from January 1, 1980 through December 31, 1996. 

More information

Crohn’s disease

You are not eligible to donate.

Dental Work

The deferral period varies depending on the type of dental work you received.  

  • If you have had a cleaning or filling, you are eligible to donate the day after your treatment.  

  • If you have had an extraction, root canal or dental surgery you are eligible to donate 72 hours after your treatment, if you have fully recovered. 

Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes and are treated with diet or pills to lower your blood sugar, you can donate.

If you have type 2 diabetes and are treated with insulin, you may be able to donate. This depends on when you started insulin, and if your sugars are stable. Type 1 diabetics are currently deferred.

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).

Disease

For your safety and the safety of the patients who receive blood transfusions, donations are not taken from people with certain medical conditions. Please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to discuss your health. One of our trained professionals will be able to determine your eligibility.

Donation Interval

To be eligible to donate, your last: 

  • Whole blood donation must have been 56 days ago for males, 84 days ago for females 
  • Plasma donation must have been seven days ago 
  • Platelet donation must have been 14 days ago 
Ebola

Anyone who has been told by public health authorities that they have been exposed to the Ebola virus is advised not to donate blood for 56 days following their last contact with the infected person(s) or area.  

West African countries with confirmed cases of Ebola are also malaria-endemic countries. Travelers who have visited malaria-endemic countries are deferred from giving blood for one year. See the travel section of our site to determine if you can donate, or call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to discuss your eligibility. 

Epilepsy

You may be eligible to donate if you have been seizure-free for six months. If you are taking medication to treat epilepsy, please 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

The initial tests we use to screen blood are highly sensitive to guarantee the safety of Canada’s blood supply. Our tests are designed to detect donations with even the smallest levels of infection. This ultra-sensitive means of testing can sometimes create a reaction with proteins in the blood and produce a "reactive" (i.e., positive) result. We then check the result using a more specific test with a different standard of sensitivity. If that test does not produce the same positive result, we consider the first result to have been a "false reactive" or "false positive."

In the past, a false reactive result meant that a donor was indefinitely deferred from giving blood. Nevertheless, Health Canada recently approved a re-entry program for some false positive results to allow eligible donors to be re-tested after a six-month waiting period.

If you have received a false reactive result in the past and would like to set up an appointment to be re-tested, 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

Some people are deferred from giving blood because of where they lived or places they visited. 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. These new criteria were introduced in February 2016, to identify donors at 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 months or longer) in a country where malaria is prevalent are deferred for three years after departure from the country. Those who have visited a malaria risk area are deferred for one year after leaving that area. If your visit lasted less than 24 hours, please call use 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 supply with the need for donors:

  • a cumulative total of three months or more in the United Kingdom (UK) between January 1980 and December 31, 1996
  • a cumulative total of three months or more in France between January 1980 and December 31, 1996
  • a cumulative total of five years or more in Western Europe outside the U.K. or France from January 1, 1980 through December 31, 2007. Western European countries affected are Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.
  • a cumulative total of six months or more in Saudi Arabia from January 1, 1980 through December 31, 1996

Donor screening deferrals are based on risk factors. It has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

Learn more about geographic deferrals

Health

You must be in good general heath to donate blood. This means feeling well and able to perform normal activities. On the day of your donation appointment, you should be well hydrated, have had something to eat and had a good night's sleep the night before.

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.

Hemochromatosis

Hereditary hemochromatosis is a common genetic disorder. Individuals with hemochromatosis absorb too much iron from their diet and may accumulate extra iron in their vital organs.

If you are otherwise eligible to donate, you can donate whole blood every 56 days for males and every 84 days for females. In between your Canadian Blood Services donations, there should be at least one week between an outpatient phlebotomy and your next donation. If you have late complications from hemochromatosis such as liver cirrhosis or heart failure, you are not eligible to donate.

If you’re looking for more information about hemochromatosis, click here or visit the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society website.

Hemoglobin

We test your hemoglobin level before each donation.  

  • For females, your hemoglobin must be at least 125 g/L (12.5 g/dL) to be eligible to donate blood.  

  • For males, as of March 5, 2017, your hemoglobin must be at least 130 g/L (13.0 g/dL) to be eligible to donate blood.

 

Learn more about hemoglobin

Hepatitis/Jaundice

You may be eligible to donate with a history of jaundice or hepatitis six months after you have fully recovered, unless the cause was due to hepatitis B or C.

If you ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, you are not eligible to donate, even if you have never been sick or jaundiced 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/AIDS

You should not give blood if you:  

  • Have HIV 

  • Ever had a positive HIV test 

  • Have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV. 

Several activities put people at a high risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. These can indefinitely defer a person from giving blood. Examples of HIV high-risk activities include, but are not limited to: 

  • A person who has taken money or drugs for sex since 1977.  

  • A person who has used intravenous street drugs. 

If you have participated in any of the above-mentioned examples of high-risk activities, you are not eligible to donate blood.  

Men who have had sex with another man more than one year ago, and who meet other screening criteria, may now be eligible to give blood. Learn more about our policy on HIV/AIDS risk-related activities reading our Men Who Have Sex with Men info page. 

Iron

A diet rich in iron is advised for all donors. A decrease in iron stores (ferritin) may occur in frequent donors. If you donate regularly, speak with your pharmacist or doctor about taking iron supplements to prevent low iron stores. Ask your doctor to check your iron stores (ferritin).  

If you are taking  

  • A multivitamin with iron, you are eligible to donate 

  • An iron tablet to prevent low iron, you are eligible to donate 

  • An iron tablet to treat low iron stores (low ferritin), you can donate three months after you start taking the iron tablets and if your doctor advises you that your iron levels are normal 

  • An iron tablet to treat iron deficiency anemia (low hemoglobin and ferritin), you can donate six months after you start taking the iron tablets and if your doctor advises you that your iron levels are normal 

Learn more about iron

Lupus

If you are diagnosed with Lupus, you are no longer eligible to donate.

Malaria

If you spend time in a region affected by malaria you will be temporarily ineligible to donate blood. Depending on how long you were in the affected region, the waiting period to donate again can be one to three years. Popular tourist destinations like the Dominican Republic and Mexico have some areas where malaria exposure is a risk.  

Visit the travel section of our site for a list of malaria-risk countries or call us at 1-888-236-6283 for more information.  

Marijuana

Individuals who use cannabis or marijuana may be eligible to donate, however, any evidence of intoxication or inability to give an informed consent will prevent you from donating.

Medication

Most prescribed medications do not prevent you from donating. However, the underlying condition that requires a particular medication may affect your eligibility to donate. In some cases, you may not be eligible to donate while taking medication and could be temporarily deferred after completing your medication. 

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). 

COMMONLY USED MEDICATIONS THAT ARE ACCEPTABLE WHEN DONATING BLOOD OR PLASMA.

  • Acebutolol
  • Adalat
  • Advil
  • Aleve
  • Allopurinol 
  • Amitriptyline 
  • Amlodipine 
  • Aspirin 
  • Atarax 
  • Atenolol 
  • Ativan 
  • Atorvastatin 
  • Betaxolol 
  • Bisoprolol 
  • Buspar 
  • Cardizem 
  • Cardura 
  • Catapress 
  • Celebrex 
  • Celexa 
  • Cipralex 
  • Citalopram 
  • Clomipramine 
  • Clonidine 
  • Compazine 
  • Corgard 
  • Coversyl 
  • Crestor 
  • Cymbalta 
  • Desipramine 
  • Diltiazem 
  • Doxazosin 
  • Effexor 
  • Eltroxin 
  • Felodipine 
  • Flomax 
  • Fluoxetine 
  • Fluvoxamine 
  • Hydralazine 
  • Hytrin 
  • Ibuprofen 
  • Inderal 
  • Indomethacin 
  • Lexapro 
  • Lipitor 
  • Lopressor 
  • Lyrica 
  • Meloxicam 
  • Metoprolol 
  • Minipress 
  • Mobic 
  • Monocor 
  • Nadolol 
  • Naproxen 
  • Nasonex 
  • Nexium 
  • Nifedipine 
  • Nortriptyline 
  • Norvasc 
  • Oxazepam 
  • Paroxetine 
  • Paxil 
  • Penbutolol 
  • Phenelzine 
  • Piroxicam 
  • Plavix 
  • Prazosin 
  • Propranolol 
  • Protriptyline 
  • Prozac 
  • Rabeprazole 
  • Ramipril 
  • Reactin 
  • Remeron 
  • Ritalin 
  • Sectral 
  • Sertraline 
  • Sinequan 
  • Stelazine 
  • Synthroid 
  • Tenormin 
  • Terazosin 
  • Trazodone 
  • Tylenol 
  • Venlafaxine Xr 
  • Ventolin 
  • Verapamil 
  • Wellbutrin 
  • Yasmin 
  • Zoloft 
  • Zyban

 

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 (*). 

  • Advil *24 hours
  • Aleve *72 hours 
  • Arthrotec *72 hours 
  • Aspirin *72 hours 
  • Ibuprofen *24 hours 
  • Indomethacin *24 hours 
  • Naproxen *72 hours 
  • Piroxicam *14 days 
  • Plavix *14 days 
Menstrual cycle/Menstrual cramps

You are eligible to donate.

Minor Illness

You should be feeling well at the time of your appointment. If you have a cold, flu or allergy symptoms, we may ask you to wait to donate until you have fully recovered—for your sake, and for the health of any potential blood recipient.

Multiple Sclerosis

You are not eligible to donate.

Organ/Tissue Transplants (grafts)

Eligibility requirements after an organ or tissue transplant/graph vary. You must wait 12 months after receiving any type of tissue transplant from another person 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 the brain disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

If you received a tissue graft from one area of your body to another, you are eligible once you have fully recovered.

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).

Piercing

Donors must wait three months after having a body piercing due to the increased risk of infections associated with piercings.

Pregnancy and Nursing

Pregnant donors are not eligible to donate. There is also a six-month waiting period after giving birth before you may become eligible to donate.

If you are breastfeeding, you are not eligible to donate blood during the first six months after giving birth.

If you have suffered a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy, you must wait six-weeks before they can become eligible to donate. If you received an Rh immune globulin injection such as WinRho, you must wait six months before donating blood.

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Deferral periods for donors with a sexually transmitted disease vary.

You may eligible if it has been more than 12 months since you completed treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea. Chlamydia is not a cause for deferral once it has been resolved. If you have genital herpes, are still eligible to donate, once the lesions are healed. Venereal warts (human papilloma virus) are not a cause for deferral.

If you have questions about sexually transmitted diseases 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 to be used to collect blood is not affected. If the skin is infected, wait until the infection has cleared before donating.

Taking antibiotics to control acne does 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.

Stitches/Laceration

Once stitches are removed and you free of any infection, you are eligible to donate.

Surgery

In general, having surgery is not a concern for donating, but the underlying condition that precipitated the surgery may be. If the underlying condition is not cause for deferral, you will need to be fully recovered from the procedure and feeling well before donating.

If you received any blood products during or after surgery, you must wait six months before donating.

Eligibility is on a case-by-case basis. 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.

Travel

If you are planning a trip outside of Canada or have just returned, make sure you are informed about your destination and any issues that may affect your ability to donate.

Visit our travel page for a listing of countries that are affected. 

Tattoos

You must wait three months after getting a tattoo (includes microblading and permanent makeup) before you are eligible to donate. The temporary deferral period is due to the increased risk of infections associated with tattoos.

Vaccinations

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

DISEASE

VACCINE BRAND NAMES

This list is not inclusive of all brand named or generic drugs

DEFERRAL PERIOD

Anthrax 

 

None

BCG 

 

6 weeks

Chicken Pox (varicella) 

Varivax

3 months

Cholera

Metacol Berna (oral)

4 weeks

Cholera

Dukoral (oral)

None

Diarrhea (traveller's)

Dukoral (oral)

None

Diphtheria

Adacel, Boostrix

None

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis

Boostrix

None

Encephalitis, Japanese

Ixiaro

None

 Hepatitis A

Avaxim, Epaxal, Havrix, Vaqta, Vivaxim

None

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B

Twinrix

4 weeks

Hepatitis B

Engerix B, Recombivax–HB

4 weeks 

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Shingrix

None

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Zostavax

3 months

Human Papillomavirus

Gardasil, Cervarix

None

Influenza

Fluviral, Influvac, Arepanrix (H1N1), Panvax (H1N1), Vaxigrip, Agriflu, Intanza, Flumist intranasal

None

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

MMR

4 weeks

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, varicella

MMRV

3 months

Measles (Rubeola)

MMR

4 weeks

Meningococcal  

Meningitec, Menjugate, Menactra, Menveo, Nimenrix, Bexsero

None

Mumps

(MMR) 

4 weeks

Paratyphoid 

 

None

Pertussis

Adacel, Boostrix

None

Plague 

 

None

Pneumococcal

Pneumovax, Prevnar, Pneumo 23

None

Polio

Sabin (oral)

6 weeks

Polio

Salk, Imovax, IPV (injection)

None

Rabies (pre-exposure immunization) 

RabAvert

None

Rabies (post-exposure immunization)

RabAvert only (no immune globulin given) 

None

Rabies (post-exposure immunization)

Rabies Immune Globulin

12 months

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever 

 

None

Rubella (German Measles) 

MMR4 weeks

Tetanus

Adacel, Boostrix

None

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis

AdacelNone

Tick Borne Encephalitis

FSME-IMMUN

None

Typhoid 

Vivotif (oral)

4 weeks

Typhoid

Typherix, Typhim Vi, Vivaxim

None

Typhoid, Hepatitis A

Vivaxim

None

Typhus 

 

None

Yellow Fever 

 

4 weeks 

  

Weight

To donate blood, you must also weigh at least 50 kg (110 lb). If you are between the ages of 17 and 23, you must meet our weight and height criteria. Review the table below to determine your eligibility. 

MALES 

IF YOU ARE... 

YOU MUST BE AT LEAST ... 

169 cm (5’ 6”) or taller

OK TO DONATE 

165 cm (5’ 5”) 

OK TO DONATE 

163 cm (5’ 4”) 

OK TO DONATE 

160 cm (5’ 3”) 

OK TO DONATE 

158 cm (5’ 2”) 

OK TO DONATE 

155 cm (5’ 1”) 

OK TO DONATE 

152 cm (5’) 

50 kg (110 lb) 

150 cm (4’ 11”) 

52 kg (115 lb) 

147 cm (4' 10”) 

54 kg (120 lb) 

FEMALES 

IF YOU ARE... 

YOU MUST BE AT LEAST... 

169 cm (5’ 6”) or taller

50 kg (110 lb) 

165 cm (5’ 5”) 

52 kg (115 lb) 

163 cm (5’ 4”) 

54 kg (120 lb) 

160 cm (5’ 3”) 

56 kg (124 lb) 

158 cm (5’ 2”) 

58.5 kg (129 lb) 

155 cm (5’ 1”) 

60 kg (133 lb) 

152 cm (5’) 

62.5 kg (138 lb) 

150 cm (4’ 11”) 

64 kg (142 lb) 

147 cm (4' 10”) 

66 kg (146 lb) 

Zika

Donors who have travelled to locations outside of Canada, the continental U.S., Europe and Antarctica have a waiting period of 21 days after their return home before donating blood.

Visit our Travel page for more information or call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888-236-6283) to speak with one of our trained health professionals to discuss your eligibility. 

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