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World Blood Donor Day 2024: What makes you eligible to donate blood in India

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Blood donation India. Photo: World Health Organization (WHO)
 
Did you know that you cannot wake up one morning saying “I will donate blood” and walk into your nearest hospital or blood donation camp? There are guidelines and health conditions which make you eligible or ineligible for blood donation.
World Blood Donor Day is observed on the 14th of June every year across the world to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the ABO blood group system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Blood Donor Day theme for this year is ‘celebrating 20 years of giving: thank you blood donors!’
Blood donation serves to give patients access to safe blood and blood products in adequate amount, blood being a major component of our body. Blood donation is an unselfish act as we often donate blood for people who we do not know. However, a person willing to donate blood has to fit into certain criteria for being eligible. This is the reason why a thorough health check-up is done before blood donation to ensure the donor’s well-being.
On World Blood Donor Day, let us learn about the eligibility criteria for blood donation in India.

Age, sex and general health

To be able to donate blood a person should be aged between 18 and 60 years
Senior citizens cannot donate blood in India
Any Gay or Transgender person is ineligible to donate blood in our country. India has had an official ban on blood donations by transgender persons since 2017. Transgender persons, gay men and female sex workers are considered to be a high-risk HIV/AIDS category and prohibit them from donating blood.
The donor’s Haemoglobin count should not be less than 12.5 g/Dl. A test will be administered at the donation site. In many countries, a haemoglobin level of not less than 12.0 g/dl for females and not less than 13.0 g/dl for males as the threshold, informs World Health Organization (WHO).
The donor’s Pulse rate should be between 50 and 100/minute with no irregularities
The donor’s Blood Pressure should be 100-180 mm Hg for Systolic and 50 – 100 mm Hg for Diastolic
The donor’s body temperature should be Normal – 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit with oral temperature not exceeding 37.5 degrees Celsius

Additional requirements

A person donating blood should not have been treated for Rabies or received Hepatitis B immune vaccine in the past one year.
A person willing to donate blood should not get a tattoo, ear or skin piercing or acupuncture in the past six months.
Donor should not have received blood or blood products in the past six months.
Donor should not have any serious illness or undergone any major surgery in the past six months.
Donor should not come in contact with any person with hepatitis or yellow jaundice in the past six months.
Donor should not have donated blood in the past three months.
Donor should not have undergone treatment for Malaria in the past three months
Donor should not have undergone treatment for Malaria in the past three months.
Donor should not have had any immunizations in the past one month.
Donor should not have taken any antibiotics or any other medications (Allopathic or Ayurveda or Sidha or Homeo) in the past 48 hours.
Donor should not have consumed alcoholic beverages in the past 24 hours.
Donor should not have taken aspirin in the past 72 hours.
Donor should not have undergone any dental procedure in the past 72 hours. If you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure you must wait 24 hours before donating; for major work wait a month, says World Health Organization (WHO).
Pregnant women are not eligible to donate blood in India

Diseases, illnesses, menstruation and pregnancy

Donor should not be suffering from any transmittable diseases.
Donor should not be suffering from cough and cold, influenza or sore throat.
Pregnant or lactating women are not eligible to donate blood.
Women who have had miscarriage in the past 6 months are not eligible to donate blood.
Any woman during her menstrual cycles is not eligible to donate blood.
Donor should not have Diabetes
Donor should not be suffering from chest pain, heart disease, high
Blood Pressure, cancer, blood clotting problem or blood disease, unexplained fever, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, enlarged lymph nodes in armpits, neck or groin, white patches in the mouth etc.
A person who has ever suffered from TB, bronchial asthma or allergic disorder, liver disease, kidney disease, fits or fainting, blue or purple spots on the skin or mucous membranes, received human pituitary – growth hormones etc. is ineligible for blood donation.

Behaviours

Donor should not engage in “at risk” sexual activity in the past 12 months.
A female sex worker is ineligible to donate blood in India.
A person who has ever had a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus) is not eligible to donate blood.
A person who has ever injected recreational drugs is not eligible to donate blood.

Travel History

People who have recently travelled to certain regions or countries may be restricted from donating blood due to potential outbreaks in those areas. Travel to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic, e.g. malaria, dengue and Zika virus infections, may result in a temporary deferral, as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

Conclusion

If you are a resident of India, then you must follow our national eligibility guidelines to be able to donate blood. Guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health, Government of India have to be followed by blood banks for donor screening.