Anyone aged between 18 and 65 can become a blood donor.
You can give blood up to your 70th birthday.
You may not give blood if it could be harmful for your own or the patient's safety. For example, if you have been at risk of contracting HIV or other blood-borne infectious diseases. Read more about the risk factors for men or women.
That is why we ask a few medical questions before you register as a donor and you fill out a medical questionnaire at your first appointment (and before each donation). If everything is okay at your first appointment and in the blood test, we will invite you to give blood soon afterwards.
Unfortunately you may not give blood if:
You weigh less than 50 kg
We are only allowed to remove up to 16% of the total blood volume [and this is linked to a person's weight and height]. Otherwise the health of a donor could be put at risk. If you are only temporarily lighter than 50 kilograms, please sign up when you have put on weight again.
You have received a blood transfusion or been treated with blood products (this includes platelets or plasma) since 1st January 1980
Because you have had a blood transfusion, you cannot register as a donor for precautionary reasons. This is in order to prevent an chain of infection with the variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. There is no test with which this disease can be detected in the blood of healthy donors.
You have ever received an organ or tissue transplant from another person
This is to stop human-to-human transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). This brain disease is probably caused by consumption of beef infected with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, "mad cow disease"). There is no test to detect the presence of vCJD in a donor. For this reason, people who could potentially transmit the disease cannot become blood donors, even though the risk is very small.
You spent a total of six months or longer in the United Kingdom between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1996 (NOTE: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are all part of the United Kingdom.)
A variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) was discovered in humans in 1996.
This brain disease is probably caused by eating contaminated beef from cows with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, "mad cow disease").
Most cases of vCJD have occurred in the United Kingdom. It has also been demonstrated that vCJD can be transmitted by a blood transfusion. For this reason, people who spent six months or longer in the United Kingdom between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1996 are not allowed to register as blood donors.
You have ever injected drugs
You cannot register as a donor if you have ever injected drugs, even if it was only once or a long time ago. Because there is a higher risk of blood-borne infections you cannot give blood.
If you have snorted cocaine, you are allowed to give blood a year after the last time you used cocaine. So if you use cocaine once a year or more often, you are not allowed to become a donor.
You have diabetes and use insulin injections (you can only become a donor if your diabetes is stable using tablets)
If in the future you are able to stop using insulin injections and manage your diabetes with tablets in the future, you could become a blood donor then, once your diabetes has been stabilised with the tablets.
You have a chronic [condition] or serious illness or have had one in the past We need more information before we can say whether you can become a donor. Perhaps you could call our donor information line (0800-5115) in order to discuss your personal situation with a blood bank staff member?