Detailed eligibility criteria

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I have haemachromatosis (iron overload disease). Can I donate?

Our Medical Officer will need to review your condition. You may be able to donate and if so, will be able to give frequent donations at 1-4 week intervals to bring your iron overload under control.

Please contact your nearest donor centre and ask to speak with one of our Medical Officers. You should obtain a referral note from your General Practitioner that provides information about the diagnosis, liver function tests and your current iron status, to assist the review.

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See piles

If your piles / haemorrhoids are not causing symptoms or produce symptoms infrequently, you may donate.

If regular or severe bleeding is present, we ask you to wait for one month after the last episode.

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Hay fever

I have hay fever,– either persistently or just at some times of the year. Can I donate?

If your hay fever symptoms are mild, with or without regular treatment, you may donate.

If you have moderate or severe symptoms we will ask you to wait until one month after the symptoms have settled or been brought under control.

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Hazardous occupations

I am an aircraft or glider pilot / bus or train driver / crane operator / fireman / air traffic controller / police driver / diver, or involved with climbing ladders or scaffolding. Can I donate?

If you are involved with any of the activities listed above, we will ask you to not donate if on duty or within one day of going on duty, or taking part in the activity.

In the case of commercial pilots we recommend 7 days before going on duty.

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Heart attack

I had a heart attack but I am doing well now. Can I donate?

To protect your health and safety, NZ Blood Service is unable to accept you as a blood donor now, or in the future.

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How tall do I have to be to donate?

New Zealand Blood Service has height and weight criteria for all first time donors who are under 25 years old.

Find out if you meet the height and weight criteria by using our handy quiz

Explanation: The amount of blood your body contains is proportional to your height and weight. The criteria are based on international best practice which recommends donors give no more than 15% of their total blood volume in any whole blood donation, to ensure the donors’ health is protected.

See also “weight”.

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I had hepatitis. Can I donate?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by infection (such as the viruses hepatitis A, B or C), or by an unknown cause. You cannot donate until 12 months after full recovery.

Hepatitis -– my friend or family member has had hepatitis. Can I donate?
This will depend on the type of hepatitis. Please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak with a nurse if you need more information.

Hepatitis - my partner has had hepatitis. Can I donate?
You can donate 12 months after your last sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis, or 12 months after the person has fully recovered.

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I have genital herpes. Can I donate?

Yes, provided you are not currently suffering an episode with sores. Any recent sores must be clean and dry.

You may donate between episodes.

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Homosexual men

Can homosexual men donate blood in New Zealand?

Deferrals for sexual behaviour are based on what you do or have done and not on sexual orientation.

Since December 2014 the criteria has been: You must not give blood for 12 MONTHS following oral or anal sex with or without a condom with another man (if you are male).

NZ Blood Service has recently done a review on the behavioural donor deferral criteria. The full report can be seen on the website here.

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Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

I am taking hormone replacement therapy. Can I donate?

If you are taking hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms you may donate.

If you are taking hormone replacement therapy for any other reason you will need to discuss the condition with our Staff. Please call your local Donor Centre or 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325) and ask to speak with a nurse if you need more information.

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How long - does the donated blood last?

How long - does the donated blood last?

  • The red cell component can be kept chilled just for 35 days
  • Plasma can be stored for up to 2 years if frozen
  • Platelets last just 7 days and must be 'rocked' constantly to keep them alive.

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How long does it take to replace my blood?

How long does it take to replace a unit of blood (470mls)?

It takes just 24 - 28 hours to replace the volume, but approximately 6 weeks to replace the red blood cells.

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How much blood do they take?

How much blood do they take?

A single unit of blood is about 470mL, that's about 8% of your total blood. The body manufactures blood constantly and will soon replace the donated blood without any ill effects.

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How much blood is needed in New Zealand?

How much blood is needed in New Zealand?

Every week, we need to collect approx 3,000 whole blood donations to meet the needs of hospital patients and users of blood products throughout New Zealand. That's around 147,000 whole blood units each year.

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How often can I donate blood?

How often can I donate blood?

Donors may donate whole blood up to four times a year with a gap of at least 12 weeks in between donations.

Apheresis donors may donate plasma or platelets every two weeks to a maximum of 23 times per year.

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What does HTLV stand for?

Human T Cell Lymphotrophic Virus.

This virus is rare in NZ but more common in some overseas countries. It can infect some white blood cells and other tissues. The virus sometimes causes a leukaemia or serious deterioration of the spinal cord. A test for this virus infection is carried out on new donors as a precautionary step.

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I have been told I am hypoglycaemic. Can I donate?

Hypoglycaemia means ‘low blood sugar’. There are many reasons for low blood sugar and an important one is from treatment of diabetes. If you have symptoms of hypoglycaemia that is not related to diabetes or other serious illness, you can donate provided that you have eaten properly within 2 hours prior to donating. As with all donors, you should also drink plenty of fluids both before and after donation.

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