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, length 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 when your body weight is at least 50kgs
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.
Exception for donating blood and platelets: if you travelled to one of the countries or regions on the list below, then you must wait 28 days after you return before you can give blood or platelets.
- Italy: Bologna (Emilia Romagna), Mantova (Lombardia), Oristano (Sardinië)
- Romania: Braila, Boekarest (Ilfov)
- Servia: Belgrado
- Greece: Argolida regio (Peloponnesos)
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 Africa, Asia, 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.
Travellers returning from areas affected by the Zika virus are excluded for 28 days after leaving the high-risk area.
- North America: United States of America: Florida (Miami-Dade county), Texas (Cameron county)
- Caribbean: US Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat
- Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama
- South America: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
- Oceania: Polynesia (American Samoa), Melanesia, Micronesia, Palau
- Asia: Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Maldives
- Africa: Angola
People diagnosed with Zika virus disease are excluded for 28 days following complete clinical recovery.
Women who have had sexual contact with a man who has either had Zika virus disease or has stayed in a high-risk area for the Zika virus (see above) in the three months before sexual contact are excluded for 28 days following the last sexual contact.
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 may not give blood, plasma or platelets for 4 months if:
- You’ve got a new sexual partner.
- You’ve injured yourself with a needle or a sharp object which had blood from another person on it.
- You have sniffed drugs.
- You’ve got an STD (not HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis).
- Your sexual partner has syphilis.
You may not give blood, plasma or platelets for 12 months after the end of one of the below-mentioned risk situations:
- Your sexual partner is HIV positive or has AIDS.
- Your sexual partner has hepatitis B or hepatitis C (to be discussed with your doctor).
- You are a man and have had sex with another man.
- Your sexual partner is a man who has had sex with a man.
- Your sexual partner has ever injected drugs.
- You have had a risky sexual contact and want to know if you’re infected.
- You or your sexual partner have several sexual partners, or take part in group sex.
- You come from a country where AIDS or hepatitis is prevalent and have lived in Belgium for less than 3 years.
- Your sexual partner is from a country where AIDS and/or hepatitis is prevalent (to be discussed with your doctor).
- You have been given money or things in exchange for sex.
- Your sexual partner is a prostitute.
- You or your sexual partner have paid for sex.
You may never give blood if:
- You are HIV positive or have AIDS.
- You’ve ever had or tested positive for hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis.
- You have ever injected drugs.
Women may not donate blood or platelets for 28 days following the last sexual contact with their male partner if he has stayed in a high-risk area for the Zika virus in the three months before sexual contact (even if she did not go with him) or if he has had Zika virus disease.
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.