How to Donate

Can I Donate?

Most people can donate blood, assuming they’re feeling well. People with many health conditions – like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – can still donate blood if their condition is well-managed.

Everyone’s situation is different, so we encourage you to call us at 888-308-3924 to discuss your health history and whether you can donate.

Answers to your blood donation eligibility questions:

  • Age & Weight Minimums

    The first step in donating is ensuring you’re feeling good enough to donate. If so, you must then meet the minimum age and weight criteria:

    • 16 years old and weigh at least 125 pounds (with signed parental permission).
    • 17 years old and weigh at least 125 pounds.
    • 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds.

    Some donations – like double red cell donations – have higher weight minimums, so please contact us if you want to make one of these types of donations.

  • Tattoos

    If you have received a tattoo in a licensed facility in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, or many nearby states, you can donate blood immediately. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait three months to donate. Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page on tattoo and piercing blood donation eligibility using the button below.

    Tattoo & Piercing Eligibility

  • Medications

    Most prescription medications taken daily won’t keep you from donating, but some do, so it’s important to confirm before donating. See a partial list of common medications that will keep you from donating or call 888-308-3924 to check on your specific situation.

    If you’re taking an antibiotic or running a fever, you’ll need to wait to donate until one week after completing your antibiotic, assuming you’re feeling well. Those who are taking antibiotics daily for conditions like acne may be eligible to donate.

    Medications List

  • Marijuana and Alcohol

    You will not be able to donate if under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Medical Conditions

    Many common medical conditions – like high blood pressure and diabetes – won’t disqualify you from donating. As long as your condition is well-regulated, you can usually donate. Other conditions, like cancer, require a waiting period before donating. Cancer survivors can generally donate blood one year after being declared cancer-free, although those who have had hematologic blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma are permanently ineligible to donate.

  • Low Iron

    An OBI phlebotomist will check your iron levels with a hemoglobin test prior to your blood donation. If you believe you may be iron deficient, have questions about symptoms related to iron deficiency anemia, or would like to learn some helpful tips for improving your body's iron, visit our iron deficiency page through the button below.

    Iron deficiency: What you need to know

  • Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

    Blood donations can be made six or more weeks after delivery, or six or more weeks after the end of pregnancy. Breastfeeding mothers can donate six or more weeks after delivery.

  • Surgery & Blood Transfusions

    After most non-cardiac surgeries, you are eligible to donate two weeks after your surgery, assuming you’ve been released from medical care and are well-recovered. If you’ve received a blood transfusion, you must wait three months to donate.

  • Travel & Time Overseas

    Traveling to other countries can bring additional health risks, so you’ll always be asked about recent travel before donating. If you’ve recently traveled to a country with a high malaria risk, you may have to wait three months to donate. Since the countries with this risk changes often, please reach out to us at 888-308-3924 to ask about your specific travel.

    People who were previously deferred for European Travel associated with the theoretical risk of vCJD transmission, are now eligible to donate. Click here to learn more.

  • Individual Donor Assessment

    Our Blood Institute and other U.S. blood collectors are regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in matters of donor eligibility and qualification.

    On May 11, 2023, the FDA revised its donor eligibility guidance with new questions related to sexual activity. These questions will be asked of all donors, regardless of sexual orientation, sex, or gender, using a set of individual risk-based questions to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV.

    Additional questions to determine eligibility will be asked, if applicable.

    The deferral timeframe is three months from the last contact, if applicable.

    For more information, please visit FDA.gov.