Am I able to give blood?
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 won't be able to donate blood, plasma or platelets either for a temporary period or permanently. To determine who can give blood, before you donate we'll 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? Then simply contact the doctor at your donor centre.
You must be between 18 and 66 to be a donor. If you have given blood, plasma or platelets before, you can continue to do so. But at 66 years of age it should be no more than 3 years since your last donation, and you will need permission from the doctor at the donor centre.
2. Weight, height and sex
Your ability to give blood will depend on your weight, height and sex. You can check your eligibility to give blood online.
Are you not allowed to give blood, then you may be able to donate plasma if you weigh at least 50 kg.
Are you transgender? Being transgender is not a reason to prevent you donating. A deferral period may apply for some transgender individuals. Read more at www.rodekruis.be/transgender.
3. Intervals between giving blood, plasma and platelets
You can give blood up to four times a year. Each time you need to wait at least two months before doing so again.
However, you can give plasma and blood platelets every two weeks.
If you want to give blood, plasma and/or blood platelets at the same time, you'll 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
If you are from a country where aids or hepatitis are common you will be eligible to donate blood 1 year after departing the risk area.
If you are from a country where malaria is common you will be eligible to donate blood and blood platelets no sooner than 3 years after departing the malaria risk area. In the meantime, you will be eligible to donate plasma after a deferral period of no more than 1 year.
If in the period between 1980 and 1996 you spent a total of more than sixth months in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey, Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands, we are sorry to say that you are not eligible to donate.
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've had such an operation, you'll only be able to give plasma.
Have you had a transfusion?
After a transfusion you'll 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:
- a dental filling or the fixing of a crown: one day;
- tartar or root-canal treatment 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 can't give blood, plasma or platelets during pregnancy or in the six months following the end of the pregnancy .
8. Procedures involving needles for cosmetic or therapeutic purposes, e.g. piercings or tattoos
If you have had a tattoo, (earlobe) piercing or permanent make-up applied, you must wait four months.
Have you had acupuncture/dry needling/myofascial therapy or other therapeutic treatment using needles?
- If this was performed by a doctor, you do not have to wait and can donate immediately.
- If this was not performed by a doctor, you may donate again if you can show a valid certificate or proof of certification. You can find a template certificate here (.pdf). Without a certificate/proof of certification, you must wait for a period of 4 months from your last session.
9. Contact with a person's blood as a result of an accident involving a prick, cut, splash or bite
If another person's blood (or a bodily fluid such as saliva, amniotic fluid, etc.) has been in contact with your broken skin or mucous membranes, you will have to wait four months before being eligible to donate again. You will also have to wait four months if you have been pricked by a needle or sharp object which may have had blood on it, or if you were bitten by another person.
If, following this type of incidental contact, you received PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) treatment to prevent HIV, this four-month deferral period continues to apply.
For example: you are a nurse and you accidentally pricked yourself with a needle which you had just used on a patient, or your eye was spattered with blood when assisting in an operation.
10. Illnesses or infections
Fever or illness caused by a viral or bacterial infection
Wait for 14 days after you've 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 don't experience any symptoms: wait until one month after the tick bite.
- If you have had Lyme disease and/or Lyme disease symptoms, wait until four weeks after the symptoms have disappeared and the treatment has come to an end
In the case of other specific infections or diseases
If you are HIV-positive or have AIDS: you may never donate, even if you are taking antivirals (ART: antiretroviral therapy) and have an undetectable viral load (see 12. Medication/vaccinations).
- If you have ever had or tested positive for hepatitis B, C or syphilis: you must not give blood.
- If you suffer from haemophilia (a blood coagulation disorder): you must not give blood.
Patients with haemochromatosis
People with a hereditary form of haemochromatosis but who are otherwise healthy may donate blood, plasma or blood platelets) provided they produce an annual certificate from their doctor confirming that:
- they are in the maintenance phase of treatment and their serum ferritin is within the reference levels;
- they need a phlebotomy no more than once every two months;
- their organs are undamaged by their haemochromatosis.
Are you a haemochromatosis sufferer who meets the criteria above and would like to give blood, plasma or platelets?
- Start by completing the donor self-assessment test.
- Download the medical certificate and accompanying letter for your doctor.
- Ask your doctor to complete and sign the certificate.
- Bring the certificate and the results of a recent (no more than a month old) serum ferritin lab test to the blood collection for the blood collection doctor.
Good to know:
- The certificate must be renewed each year after giving blood for the first time.
- As a haemochromatosis patient, you can give blood up to six times a year, with at least 60 days between each blood donation.
- As a hemochromatosis patient you can also donate plasma or platelets. Keep in mind that after a plasma or platelet donation you have to wait 14 days before you can donate blood again.
If you have had a serious illness (such as cancer) or suffer from a cardiovascular disease, please contact our donor doctors (office hours) at the number 015/445 744 (for Antwerp, Brussels, Limburg and Flemish Brabant) or 09/244 56 65 (for East and West Flanders). You can also contact us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (for Antwerp, Brussels, Limburg and Flemish Brabant) or email@example.com (for East and West Flanders).
11. Sexual partners
You mustn't give blood, plasma or platelets for four months if:
- you've got a new sexual partner;
- you’ve got a sexually transmitted disease (apart from HIV, hepatitis B or C or syphilis (for all of these, see below));
- your sexual partner has syphilis.
You mustn't give blood, plasma or platelets for 12 months after the end of one of the risk situations below:
- your sexual partner is HIV-positive or has AIDS;
- your sexual partner has hepatitis B or C (to be discussed with your doctor);
- you're a man and have had sex with another man;
- you are a woman and your sexual partner is a man who has had sex with another man;
- you or your sexual partner have several sexual partners, or you or your partner take part in group sex;
- your sexual partner is a man who has had sex with another man;
- your sexual partner has ever injected drugs;
- you have had risky sexual contact and want to know if you're infected;
- you come from a country where AIDS or hepatitis is prevalent and have lived in Belgium for under three years;
- your sexual partner is from a country where AIDS and/or hepatitis is prevalent (to be discussed with your doctor);
- you've been given money or other items in exchange for sex;
- your sexual partner is a prostitute;
- you or your sexual partner have paid for sex.
The deferral periods remain valid if you take preventive medication to prevent HIV infection, referred to as PEP or PrEP (post-exposure or pre-exposure prophylaxis), see 12. Medication/vaccinations.
You must not give blood or platelets for 28 days after sexual contact with a man diagnosed with ZIKA infection in the three months prior to sexual contact or with a woman diagnosed with ZIKA infection in the eight weeks prior to sexual contact. Donating plasma is allowed in these situations.
If you are taking medication or have just been vaccinated, this medication or vaccination does not usually present a problem when giving blood, plasma or platelets, but the underlying reason for the medication or vaccine might.
You are temporarily prohibited from giving blood, plasma or platelets if you have been vaccinated:
- Living vaccine: 1 month deferral
- Hepatitis B vaccine: 14 days deferral
13. Drug users
If you've ever injected drugs, you must never give blood.
After sniffing drugs, you'll have to wait for four months before giving blood.