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Donor Qualifications                                                                                   Printable View


This guide is intended to assist in pre-screening prospective blood donors. Please refer other health questions to our Donor Services staff prior to registering, call Heartland Blood Centers at

(630) 892-7055. All Donors: Please bring a photo ID.

The donor must be in good health and feeling well.

At least 17 years of age. In Illinois and Indiana, 16-year-olds are eligible provided they have written approval from parent/guardian. There is no upper age limit.

110 pounds or more.

There is no upper weight limit. However, for safety reasons, the donorís weight may not be higher than the weight limit specified for the donor bed/chair in use.

It is recommended to eat something within the four hours preceding the donation.

Interval Between Blood Donations
Must be eight (8) weeks between regular donations. Waiting period must be sixteen (16) weeks after double red cell apheresis for any type of donation.


Tattoo, Ear-Body Piercing

Twelve (12) month waiting period after procedure. 


No waiting period for:


piercing if performed with sterile, single use equipment;  


tattoo if done in a tattoo establishment in Indiana or Illinois.  Ask a staff member if tattoo was done in a another state.

Allergy, Asthma
Acceptable if under control, no acute symptoms on the day of the donation.

Acceptable after last dose if no symptoms of infection.

Acceptable if controlled by diet or medications and is not associated with major organ disease (heart, kidneys, etc).

Cancer (malignancy)
  1.  Acceptable 1 year after last treatment, if the malignancy was removed by surgery alone, or only by radioactive implant for prostate cancer or

  2.  Acceptable 3 years after last treatment, if the malignancy was removed by radiation or chemotherapy (with or without surgery).

  AND  the donor is off cancer medication, symptom-free with no recurrence of the tumor, and is otherwise in good health since the end of treatment.

  3.  Leukemia, lymphoma, myeloproliferative disorders: permanent deferral

Cold or Flu
Fever, persistent cough, sore throat or chest congestion disqualify a donor.

Surgery (minor, including dental surgery)
Acceptable 7 days after procedure.

History of viral hepatitis after the age of 10 years disqualifies a donor. Sharing the same household with a person suffering from hepatitis - twelve (12) month waiting period.

Endoscopy                                         No deferral if the procedure was done with a rigid scope (arthroscopy, laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, colposcopy, etc.).      4 month deferral after procedure if done with a flexible scope (colonoscopy, etc.).

Heart Disease, Stroke
Major congenital heart malformation, severe coronary artery disease or symptomatic heart disease disqualify a donor.  Refer to staff if previous heart attack or major heart surgery (valve replacement, coronary artery bypass surgery, repair of congenital heart defects, etc.).  Successful angioplasty or ablation without history of heart attack with complete recovery without complications or restrictions may be eligible to donate 6 months after the procedure.  

Minor stroke (minor residual effect/damage), if no recurrent symptoms or restrictions - 6 month deferral from date of the stroke.

Stroke with subsequent residual effect/damage or restrictions - permanent deferral.

High Blood Pressure
May donate provided blood pressure is within normal range at time of donation.

Immunization and Vaccinations
Variable waiting period depending upon vaccine. Refer to Donor Services Staff.

Six (6) week waiting period after delivery.


Surgery (major), Blood Transfusion, Transplantation
Blood transfusion, surgery requiring blood transfusion, or tissue transplant - twelve (12) month waiting period. Dura mater, corneal,  major organ, bone marrow or stem cell transplants - permanent deferral.

Travel Outside U.S. or Canada (Malarial Risk)
Due to Malarial risk, anyone who has traveled outside the U. S. or Canada  should check with Donor Services Staff to determine eligibility. Had malaria, residence or military service in a malaria-endemic country for 5 or more years - three (3) year waiting period. Visit to malaria-endemic area lasting less than 5 years - one (1) year waiting period.  Among others, regions at risk of malaria include most sub-Saharan African and many Asian countries, some states of Mexico, areas in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Haiti (all areas) and others.  Refer to staff for details.

Residence in/Travel to United Kingdom (risk for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease - vCJD)
Spent a cumulative three (3) months or more between 1980 and 1996 in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands), and/or have received transfusion of blood in the U.K. since 1980 - permanent deferral.

Residence on Military Base in Europe (risk for vCJD)
If you were a member of the U. S. military, a civilian military employee or a dependent of a member of the U. S. military and spent a cumulative six (6) months or more associated with a military base in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Germany between 1980 and 1990, and/or spent a cumulative six (6) months or more associated with a military base in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy, or Greece between 1980 and 1996 - permanent deferral.

Residence in/Travel to Europe (risk for vCJD)
Spent a cumulative five (5) years or more in Europe (including time spent in the U. K. from 1980 through 1996) since 1980, and/or have received transfusion of blood in France since 1980 - permanent deferral.

Donors taking medications may be deferred from blood donation due to their underlying medical condition.  Refer to Heartland staff for acceptability. Medications for high cholesterol, blood pressure and allergies, replacement hormones (estrogens, thyroid hormones, etc.) and most anti-inflammatory drugs are acceptable.


Accutane, Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorvisan, Sotret, Zenatane/isotretinoin (for acne,  Propecia/finasteride (for hair loss), Proscar/finasteride (for prostate condition) - one (1) month waiting period after last dose.

Avodart or Jalyn/dutasteride (for prostate condition) - six (6) months after last dose.

Soriatane/acitretin  (for psoriasis) - three (3) years waiting period after last dose.

Tegison/etretinate (for psoriasis) - permanent deferral.

Other Possible Disqualifications
Persons at risk for HIV infection (at risk for AIDS): Men who had sex with other men, prostitutes, past/current intravenous drug users or individuals who injected drugs not prescribed ay a physician (steroids, etc.), sexual partners of someone at risk for HIV, hemophiliacs, persons with  history of sexually transmitted disease or incarceration in the past twelve (12) months. Persons at risk for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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