Recent changes to donation criteria
Thousands more may now be eligible to donate in Canada!
October 16, 2022
- Acupuncture: You are now eligible to donate blood three months after your last acupuncture treatment. This has been shortened from the previous waiting period of six months.
- Cocaine: For cocaine use, there is no longer a waiting period to donate (except if drugs were injected). A deferral period remains for intravenous use of substances including cocaine. Donors must not be intoxicated at the time of donation.
- Sex work: If you have received money or drugs for sex, you must wait 12 months before donating blood or plasma. There is no longer a lifelong deferral in place for sex work.
September 11, 2022
Eligibility questions specific to men who have sex with men have been removed. Instead, all donors are asked if they’ve had new and/or multiple sexual partners in the last three months. If they have, they are then asked a follow-up question about whether they’ve had anal sex with any partner in the last three months.
Learn more about sexual behaviour-based screening.
May 9, 2022
Donors who have travelled to the continental U.S., Europe and Antarctica no longer need to wait 14 days after they return home to donate blood or plasma. Travel to all other countries still requires a 21 day wait.
Learn more about how travel affects eligibility.
February 6, 2022
Changes to variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (vCJD) criteria:
- If you have lived in Saudi Arabia or Western Europe (except the UK, Republic of Ireland and France), you are now eligible to donate.
- If you spent a cumulative total of five years or more in France and/or Ireland (Republic of Ireland) between January 1980 and December 31, 2001, you remain ineligible to donate.
- If you spent a cumulative total of three months or more in the United Kingdom (UK) between January 1980 and December 31, 1996, you remain ineligible to donate.
Learn more about the vCJD eligibility change.
May 10, 2021
For plasma donors in Sudbury (900 Lasalle Boulevard), Lethbridge (3735 Mayor Magrath Drive South) and Kelowna (2271 Harvey Avenue – Orchard Park Mall):
- There is no deferral period due to having dental work.
- First-time donors over the age of 71 are asked to start with a blood donation before moving on to (source) plasma donation.
- There is no deferral due to cocaine use, except if used intravenously.
- There is no three-month to three-year deferral period for donors returning to Canada from a malaria-risk area. For more information visit the travel eligibility section of our website or call us at 1-888-236-6283.
- Donors will no longer be asked about Chagas disease or tested for it as there is no risk of transmission in (source) plasma donations.
March 14, 2021
- People with diabetes that is treated with diet and/or medication (other than insulin) to lower blood sugar can donate. Those whose diabetes is treated with insulin may now be able to donate. Please call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to discuss your eligibility.
December 16, 2020:
COVID-19 update: added vaccination for COVID-19 to list of vaccinations, indicating there is no deferral period post-vaccination. Read more about eligibility here.
December 7, 2020:
Effective Monday, Dec. 7, surgical masks provided by Canadian Blood Services will be mandatory for all donors entering our centres. This is to more closely align with public health guidance, better manage public cases of COVID-19 and protect against the spread of COVID-19.
- Donors will be required to wear a surgical mask provided by Canadian Blood Services.
- Donors who cannot wear a surgical mask provided by Canadian Blood Services, may:
- wear a Canadian Blood Services-supplied surgical mask over their own mask.
- wear a Canadian Blood Services-supplied cloth mask.
- Unfortunately, if a donor refuses any of these options, they will not be allowed to enter our facilities.
November 2, 2020:
- COVID-19 updates: If you tested positive for COVID-19 but have had no symptoms, you can donate 14 days after your positive test if you meet all other eligibility criteria. If you have been hospitalized with COVID-19 you will need to wait 21 days after your full recovery to donate blood.
August 30, 2020:
- Malaria: if you travelled to a malaria risk area for less than six months, the waiting period to donate whole blood or platelets has been reduced from 12 months to three. Learn more on our travel page.
March 29, 2020:
There are new changes related to COVID-19. See our COVID-19 page for details.
January 27, 2020:
- Malaria risk areas -- Malaria risk areas have been updated. Some previously unacceptable destinations no longer have deferral periods, such as Mazatlán and Nuevo Vallarta in Mexico. Visit our travel page to see if you are eligible to donate or call us 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to check your eligibility.
- Zika risk – Antarctica (all countries) has been added to the list of destinations that are not a risk for Zika. Visit our travel page to see if you are eligible to donate or call us 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to check your eligibility.
September 29, 2019:
We introduced the following changes to make whole blood donation a smoother experience for donors and reduce unnecessary deferrals.
- After their first donation, blood donors will no longer have their blood pressure measured before donating.
- First time blood donors will have their blood pressure measured, but will not be deferred from donating for an out of range blood pressure.
- Donors will not be deferred for having a low body temperature, but will still be deferred if they have a high body temperature during screening.
Read more about how these changes can benefit the blood donor experience.
June 3, 2019:
- Based on Health Canada approval, the blood donation eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men was been reduced from one year to three months across Canada.
August 27, 2018:
- Heart conditions - If you have a heart condition such as a coronary artery disease or past heart attack, you may be able to donate after in the next 12 months if:
- You haven't had any symptons
- You don't have any physical restrictions
- You haven't had surgery or medical procedures for your condition.
- Malaria risk areas -- Malaria areas have been updated. Some previously unacceptable destinations no longer have deferral periods. Visit our travel page to see if you are eligible to donate or call us 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to check your eligibility.
- Celiac - If you have celiac disease, you are now eligible to donate as long as you are feeling well on the day of your donation appointment.
April 23, 2018:
- Tattoos and piercings - Your temporary deferral period after receiving a tattoo or piercing is now three months. Donors previously had to wait six months before they could become eligible to donate.
- Microepilation – If you use a personal device for microepilation, you are eligible to donate. We no longer defer donors who have undergone microepilation.
- Cannabis and alcohol - If you are sober, show no evidence of intoxication and can give an informed consent, you are eligible to donate. Prior to these changes, donors had to wait 12 hours after their resolution of intoxication. Many people believe that they are deferred because of past cannabis use, but that is not the case.
- Hepatitis, jaundice - There is no longer a lifelong deferral for donors with hepatitis, other than hepatitis B or C. Many cases of hepatitis or jaundice have non-infectious causes or are caused by viruses (other than hepatitis B or C) that are non-infectious once resolved. We are now only asking for your recent history of hepatitis – in the last 6 months.
- Recipients of blood and blood products (and sexual partners) - You are now eligible to donate blood after six months of receiving your last transfusion of blood or blood products. That previous deferral period was one year.
Also, we no longer ask donors or their sexual partners about clotting factor concentrates. In some cases, this allows previously deferred donors and their sexual partners give blood. If you have questions about your eligibility call to speak with one of our trained health professionals at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
- Epilepsy - You are now eligible to donate blood six months after your last seizure and, even earlier in some cases, if you are on medication to prevent seizures, provided the medication itself is acceptable under our eligibility criteria. You may call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to check.
- Togo or Cameroon - We no longer ask if you or your sexual partner has visited Togo or Cameroon in the past year. This change is thanks to international HIV surveillance and the latest scientific evidence showing these areas are no longer at high risk of variant strains of HIV. Please note, there is still a chance that donors who have recently travelled to these countries may be deferred due to malaria risk.
These changes are safe for patients who rely on blood and blood products. All changes are based on the latest scientific evidence and approved by our regulator Health Canada.
While maintaining the safety of the blood supply, we aim to make blood donation as minimally restrictive as possible.
- Age - There is no longer an upper age limit. If you have donated before and are over 71 and would like to book, give us a call! If you have never donated before, you can start donating at any time after your 17th birthday. It’s always the time to start Giving Life. Give us a call at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283)
- Cancer - For most types of cancer, you can donate 5 years after your treatment is complete and you are cancer-free. These include breast, prostate, colon, thyroid and uterine cancer. And for skin cancer such as squamous cell or basal cell, you can donate after treatment. We’d love to see you. Book an appointment today.
- Flu Shot - Getting the flu shot no longer means you can’t come in on the day of your shot. Book anytime. Book an appointment today.
- Travel - There is other travel that can mean you can’t donate but don’t assume, you might be ok to donate! Learn more here: Travel
- Medications - While taking some medications means you can’t donate, most are ok. Most common medications, such as ones used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or depression are all ok. So, if you are currently taking medication and want to know if you can give blood, check the top 40 acceptable and unacceptable medications first.
- Men Who Have Sex With Men - Health Canada has approved our request to reduce the blood donation waiting period for men who have sex with men from five years to one year. The change took effect across the country on Aug. 15, 2016. Héma-Québec will also make the change at the same time. Learn more here: Men who have sex with men
- Trans individuals - New criteria for trans donors took effect on Aug. 15, 2016. Learn more here: Trans individuals
- Donation Interval - Female donors must now book their next appointment every 84 days instead of every 56 days out to protect their iron levels.
- Hemoglobin in Male Donors - Male donors are required to measure 130 g/L on the hemoglobin test (an increase from the previous 125 g/L).
- Before you donate - Drink fluids & eat salty snacks, avoiding fatty foods such as bacon or fried foods.