Am I able to give blood?
Are you aged between 18 and 66 and in good health? If so, you could become a blood donor right now! Remember: If you give blood for the first time before your 66th birthday, then you can continue to be a donor up to the age of 71!
Safety is our number-one priority
We want donation to be safe both for you as a donor and for the patient(s) who will be receiving your blood. As such, in some cases it may be that you will not be able to donate blood, plasma or platelets either for a temporary period or permanently. To determine who is able to give blood, before you donate we will ask you a number of questions and perform a brief examination. All our selection criteria are based on scientific evidence.
When are you allowed/not allowed to give blood?
To ensure that the blood we supply is safe, we apply scientifically based selection criteria. Want to know more? Simply contact the doctor at your donor center.
You must be aged 18+ and under 66 to become a donor. If you have given blood, plasma or platelets before, you can continue being a donor until your 71st birthday. However, if you are 66 or over, it must not be more than three years since you last did so.
2. Body weight, lenght and gender
Depending on your weight, height and sex, you are able to give blood. You can check your eligibility to give blood online.
Are you not permitted to donate blood, but you have given blood at least once? Then you may be able to donate plasma or platelets.
3. Intervals between giving blood, plasma and platelets
You can give blood up to four times per year. Each time you need to wait at least two months before giving blood again.
However, you can give plasma and blood platelets every two weeks.
If you want to combine to give a blood, plasma and/or blood platelets, you need to wait until two weeks after giving blood to give plasma or platelets again, and at least two months to give blood again.
4. Travelling abroad
Travel within Europe
If you travelled to a European country, then as a rule you can give blood, plasma or platelets.
Travel outside Europe or to the Canary Islands
You need to wait until at least 28 days after your return before giving blood, plasma or platelets again. However, depending on where you travelled to, this waiting period may even be as much as six months. We advise you to check up on this a few days before reporting as a donor.
If you have visited a malaria-endemic area in Southern or Central America you will have to wait six months before donating blood, no matter how long you stayed there. Additional tests will be needed if you stayed for more than 6 months.
Have you had any endoscopic surgery or investigations?
If so, you need to wait for two to four months before you can give blood, plasma or platelets again. The waiting period depends on how the doctor carried out the investigation:
- with a rigid scope: two months
- with a flexible scope: four months
Have you had a standard operation?
After a standard operation you also need to wait for a little while before giving blood, plasma or platelets:
- minor surgery: two months
- major surgery: four months
- gastric bypass operation: once you have had such an operation, you will only be able to give plasma
Have you had a transfusion?
After a transfusion you will need to wait for four months before giving blood, plasma or platelets.
6. Dental visits
Depending on what the dentist did, you may need to wait for a little while before reporting as a donor:
- having a filling: one day
- treatment of tartar or root canal, or tooth extraction: seven days
- routine check-up: no waiting period (i.e. there is no need to wait before giving blood, plasma or platelets)
You must not give blood, plasma or platelets during pregnancy or in the six months following childbirth.
8. Procedures involving needles for cosmetic or therapeutic purposes, e.g. tattoos or piercings
You must wait for a period of four months after having a tattoo, a body piercing, pierced ears, permanent make-up, acupuncture or myofascial release therapy (dry needling). However, if an accredited acupuncturist or a doctor did the acupuncture, you do not need to wait and can give blood, plasma or platelets straight away but in this case please bring evidence of their accreditation.
9. Contact with a person's blood as a result of an accident involving a prick, cut, splash or bite
If you have had contact with anybody's blood, you will need to wait for four months before reporting as a donor again (e.g. as a nurse, you pricked yourself with a needle which you had just used on a patient; cuts, splashes and bites may also lead to contact with a person's blood).
10. Illnesses or infections
Fever or illness caused by a viral or bacterial infection
Wait for 14 days after you have fully recovered.
- If the tick was removed within 24 hours, there is no waiting period.
- If the tick was NOT removed within 24 hours and you do not experience any symptoms: wait 1 month after the tick bit.
- If you experience symptoms and/or Lyme disease: wait 14 days after the symptoms disappear and the treatment reaches an end
Other specific infections or illnesses
- If you are HIV-positive, you must not give blood.
- If you suffer from haemophilia (blood-coagulation disorder), you must not give blood.
Patients with haemochromatosis
Hereditary haemochromatosis patients and asymptomatic carriers of haemochromatosis can give blood provided that:
they are at the ‘maintenance therapy’ stage of treatment;
their serum ferritin level falls within the reference values set by the clinical laboratory that tested them;
they have not sustained any irreversible organ damage as a result of their illness.
To be able to give blood at Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, patients must bring a signed certificate from their doctor and recent laboratory test results (less than one month old) when they come to make their first donation. The test results must indicate both the patient’s serum ferritin level and the clinical laboratory’s reference values. Patients who do not bring a signed certificate and a copy of their test results will not be allowed to give blood.
Haemochromatosis patients who have been accepted as donors by the Belgian Red Cross-Flanders must submit a new certificate (plus test results) to the doctor taking the donation every year.
Download certificate that your doctor needs to fill in.
If you have had a serious illness (such as cancer) or suffer from a cardiovascular disease, please contact our medical department before attending the blood collection, at the number 09/244 56 65 or 015 445 744.
11. Sexual partners
You must not give blood, plasma or blood platelets for four months after engaging in sexual relations with a new sexual partner.
You must not give blood, plasma or blood platelets for twelve months after the following risk situations have ended:
- your sexual partner is HIV-seropositive or has AIDS
- your sexual partner is a man who has had sex at some point with another man
- your sexual partner has taken drugs by injection
- you have had a risky sexual encounter meaning that you suspect you have been infected
- you have more than one sexual partner or you change sexual partners
- your sexual partner comes from a country with a high level of occurrence of AIDS and/or hepatitis (discuss this with a doctor)
- your sexual partner is a prostitute
- you have paid for sex, participated in group sex or you have multiple sex partners
If your male sexual partner has travelled in a Zika-risk zone in the last 3 months (with or without you), you must not give blood or platelets in the 28 days after your last sexual contact.
You must never give blood if:
- you are a man who has had sex with another man between 1977 and now;
- you have ever been a prostitute.
In most cases if you are on medication or have just had a vaccination, there is no reason why you should not give blood, plasma or platelets.
However, if you are on any of the following medication, you must not do so for the period stated here:
- Roaccutane: one month
- Proscar (finasteride), Avodart (dutasteride): one month
- Neotigason: two years
If you have had the following vaccinations, you must wait for the period specified below before giving blood, plasma or platelets:
- live vaccines: one month
- hepatitis B vaccine: 14 days
13. Drug users
If you have ever taken drugs by injection, you must never give blood.
After sniffing drugs, you must wait for four months before giving blood.