Detailed eligibility criteria

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Accidents

I was involved in an accident and had stitches or other treatment. Can I donate?

After minor injuries we ask donors to wait one month from recovery.

After moderate or severe injuries the waiting time is 3 or 6 months, respectively.

If you received a blood transfusion it will be necessary to wait 12 months.

If  your injuries did not require medical attention (minor cuts, scratches and grazes) we ask donors to wait one week from recovery.

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Acne

I have active acne. Can I donate?

If you have active or infected acne it will be necessary to wait until it has settled or been treated effectively.

If treated with Isotretinoin (Roaccutane), Tretinoin (Retin A) or Adapalene (Differin), you will need to wait 4 weeks from your last dose.

If you are being treated with antibiotics you will need to wait one week from completing treatment

Please call your local Donor Centre  or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and speak to a nurse if you have any questions.

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Acupuncture

I have just had acupuncture. Can I donate?

Yes, 12 hours or more after the treatment, as long as only sterile single-use (disposable) equipment was used, there is no inflammation present at the site, and the treatment was provided by one of the following:

  • staff in a hospital, or a doctor, or
  • an acupuncturist who is a member of the NZRA or NZASA, or
  • an acupuncturist who is listed on an NZ Blood Service approved register of acupuncturists.

If sterile single-use (disposable) equipment was not used, or you are unsure if it was used; or the treatment was given by a person who is not listed above, you will not be able to donate for 6 months after the last acupuncture procedure.

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Addiction drugs

Can I donate if I have ever injected or taken drugs?

If you have injected drugs that were not prescribed by a doctor you cannot give blood now or at any time in the future.

Any person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot donate blood because the drug may affect ability to understand and answer the donor questionnaire and declaration, and to tolerate 470mL blood withdrawal.

If you have any other question concerning drugs, please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak to a nurse.

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ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

I have ADHD - can I donate?

As long as you can fully understand all the questions being asked on the form, give valid consent and your condition does not affect the donation process, you can donate blood (even if on acceptable medication).

If you have any other questions please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak to a nurse.

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Age

How does age affect my ability to donate?

Whole blood donors (regular donors)

New donors can start donating blood from their 16th birthday up to their 66th birthday.

  • NZ Blood Service asks people aged 16-17 to check with your parent/guardian before starting to donate blood.
  • New donors aged under 25 years of age will also need to meet the height and weight criteria. Check our eligibility quiz to see if you meet the criteria.

Existing whole blood donors can continue donating blood up to their 71st birthday.

  • If you wish to continue donating blood after your 71st birthday, your health will be assessed annually by an NZBS Medical Officer.

Whole blood donors are required to retire when they turn 76.

Apheresis donors (plasma or platelet donors)

Apheresis is a special collection procedure in which blood is processed in a cell separator machine. Some components are separated as the ‘donation’ and others are returned to the donor. The donor’s blood only comes into contact with sterile single use disposable materials. In NZ apheresis involves collecting either plasma (the liquid part of blood) or platelets plus some plasma.

Provided they meet apheresis donor selection criteria and have given at least one whole blood donation in the last two years, existing whole blood donors are eligible to start donating by apheresis from their 18th to their 61st birthday.

Existing apheresis donors can continue to donate by apheresis up to their 66th birthday.

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Alcohol

I had several alcoholic drinks before going to give blood. Can I donate?

NZ Blood Service does not take blood from anyone under the influence of alcohol because intoxication can affect ability to understand and answer the donor questionnaire and declaration, and to tolerate 470mL blood withdrawal.

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Allergy

I am allergic to one of the following: dust / a food / a medicine / an insect sting / other. Can I donate?

If you have mild hay fever or other mild allergy to a food or environmental substance, you may donate. Taking a medicine to control symptoms will not affect your ability to donate.

If you have moderate symptoms from an acute allergic reaction at present, you will need to wait until symptoms have settled and a further deferral of between one week - one month may be necessary. Please call you your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak with a nurse.

A moderately severe allergic reaction in the past will require you to wait for one year from the last event. After a moderate allergic reaction to a medicine you will need to wait for one year before donating.

After a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis you will not be able to donate for a minimum of ten years.

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Alpha Blockers

I take an alpha blocker. Can I donate?

As long as you do not have a cancer and meet the criteria for blood pressure and pulse rate, you can donate.

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Anaemia

I have been anaemic. Can I donate?

If the anaemia has been treated effectively and the finger prick test carried out before giving blood shows that your haemoglobin is in the acceptable range, you will be able to donate.

If you are having medical investigations for anaemia or receiving treatment for anaemia, it will be necessary to wait until both investigations and treatment are completed, and possibly for a further six month period.

Presence of persistent anaemia and some specific types of anaemia, such as pernicious anaemia, may results in permanent deferral from giving blood.

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Angioplasty

I have had an angioplasty. Can I donate?

Although your previous symptoms which required an angioplasty may have settled, it is not possible for you to give blood in the future as you may not be able to tolerate 470mL blood withdrawal.

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Anti-Androgen medication

I take Propecia. Can I donate?

If you are taking it for hair loss and do not have any other systemic condition you will have to wait for 4 weeks after the last dose before you can donate blood.

Other antiandrogen medication may rule you out from donating blood. Please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak with a nurse.

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Anti-inflammatory Medications

Can I donate?

Please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak to a nurse to check if you can donate.

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Antibiotics

I am taking antibiotics. Can I donate?

If antibiotics are taken for the treatment of an existing infection, in most cases the condition must be fully resolved and the antibiotics completed 1 week before donating.

However in some cases a longer stand down period will be required depending on the infection being treated.

In cases where an antibiotic is being taken in the absence of existing infection, a donation may be collected for restricted use as long as the donor is well.

To confirm when you can donate, please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak with a nurse.

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Antidepressants

I take an antidepressant. Can I donate?

Taking an antidepressant is generally not a cause for deferral as long as you are physically well. However, if you are taking a high dose we may need to check your eligibility to donate.

Please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak with a nurse.

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Arrhythmia

I have abnormal heart beats or I am being treated for an abnormal heart beat. Can I donate?

If you have had abnormal heart beats, the Blood Service Medical Officer will review your condition.

If your condition requires ongoing treatment it will not be possible for you to give blood donations.

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Arthritis

I have arthritis. Can I donate?

Osteoarthritis that is under good control will not affect your ability to give blood donations. If symptoms are severe you may be asked to wait for three months.

If your diagnosis is Rheumatoid Arthritis that is active or requires treatment you will not be able to give blood donations.

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Asthma

I have asthma. Can I donate?

If you have mild asthma and require only occasional use of inhalers, or you are on a regular preventative treatment programme with inhalers and do not have active symptoms at the time, you can donate.

If you have active symptoms you will need to wait one month before donating.

If you have severe asthma it will not be possible for you to donate blood.

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