Can I Donate Blood?
Everyone willing to donate blood should understand the requirements. All donated blood and blood products are tested for diseases, and potential donors are carefully and confidentially screened to ensure their own safety and that of the patients who receive blood.
Requirements for Donating Blood
Before donating, there are some basic requirements that all donors must meet. Eligible donors will need to:
- Be at least 17 years old*
- Weigh at least 110 pounds
- Be in good health generally and feel well on the day of donation
- Bring a current photo ID on the day of donation
Common Reasons People Can't Donate
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets strict requirements that apply to all blood donation centers. This protects not only patients who receive donated blood, plasma and platelets—it also protects the health of donors as well. Donating blood can be unsafe if you're on specific medications, have medical restrictions or have traveled to certain areas.
You will not be able to donate if you:
- Are taking antibiotics for an infection (antibiotics for treating acne are fine)
- Are currently using Avodart or Jalyn or have taken either in the last 6 months
- Have taken Absorica, Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan, Propecia, Proscar, Sotret or Zenatane in the past 30 days (or are currently on any of these drugs)
- Are currently taking or have taken Aubagio, Erivedge or Odomzo in the last two years
- In the past three years have taken Soriatane (or are taking it now)
- Have ever taken Tegison
- Taking a medication that contains aspirin (applies only to platelet donors)
You cannot donate blood or blood products if you have:
- Undergone dental surgery within the last 72 hours
- A history of HIV/AIDS
- Have hepatitis or have had close contact in the past year with someone who does
- Have had cancer during the last year, unless it was localized skin cancer and has been treated
- Used IV drugs not prescribed by a physician
- Received an accidental needle stick within the last 12 months
If you have lived or traveled to any of these places during the specified timeframes, you won't be able to donate.
- Traveled to an area where malaria is common in the past 12 months
- Spent a combined total of 3 months or more in the UK from 1980–1996
- Spent a combined total of 5 years or more in Europe from 1980 through the present (including any time spent in the UK from 1980–1996)
- Resided on a U.S. military base in Europe for 6 months or more from 1980–1996
What if you have body piercings or tattoos?
- Ear and body piercings are okay if they were performed with sterile, single-use needles. If other methods were used, you will have to wait 12 months after the procedure to donate blood.
- Tattoos or permanent makeup received from licensed California institutions are acceptable, provided they have healed and there are no signs of infection. If you had the work done at a nonlicensed facility, or if it happened outside of California, you will be eligible to donate 12 months after the procedure.
If you are not eligible to donate blood, don't be discouraged. There are still valuable ways you can use your time and energy to help save lives. You can:
- Volunteer with Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Services—we're always looking for volunteers.
- Be an ambassador for donation. Spread the word to your co-workers, friends and family about the critical shortage of blood and blood products needed to save lives.
- Organize and host a blood drive in your community, with assistance from our team.