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Donor Qualifications Guide

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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 

General, Weight, Age

The donor must be in good health and feeling well, weighing 110 pounds or more.

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.


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

Interval Between Blood Donations

Must be 8 weeks between regular blood donations.  Waiting period must be 16 weeks after double red cell apheresis for any type of donation.

Allergy, Asthma

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


Acceptable after last dose if no symptoms of infection.


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

Cold or Flu

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

Tattoo, Ear-Body Piercing

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 Donor Services staff member if tattoo was done in another State.


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

High Blood Pressure

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

Heart Disease, Stroke

Major congenital heart malformation, severe coronary artery disease or symptomatic heart disease disqualify a donor.  Refer to Donor Services staff for acceptability 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 the date of the stroke.

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

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

Immunizations and Vaccinations

Variable waiting period depending upon vaccine.  Refer to Donor Services staff.


6 week waiting period after delivery.


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

Surgery (minor, including dental surgery)

Acceptable 7 days after procedure.

Surgery (major), Blood Transfusion, Transplantation

Blood transfusion, surgery requiring blood transfusion, or tissue transplant –

12 month waiting period.

Dura mater, corneal, major organ, bone marrow, xenotransplantation products or stem cell transplants – permanent deferral.


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.).

Travel Outside U.S. or Canada (Malarial, Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya Risk)

Anyone who has traveled outside the continental U.S. or Canada should check with Donor Services staff to determine eligibility.

Residence in/Travel to the United Kingdom (risk for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease -vCJD)

Spent a cumulative 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 in 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 6 months or more associated with a military base in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Germany between 1980 and 1990, and/or spent a cumulative 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 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.

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 by 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 12 months.  Persons at risk for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.