The following are general guidelines for blood donation. Note that they do not represent a complete list of possible deferrals. Please contact us at 716-529-4270 or visit one of our Neighborhood Blood Donation Centers for more detailed information (Southgate Plaza, Tonawanda Donation Center, and ConnectLife HQ.) Thank you for choosing to donate blood with ConnectLife. 

COVID-19 & Blood Donation

Have questions about donating blood during COVID-19? We have created a FAQ series just for you! Read here.

FDA Eligibility Changes

As of April 2, 2020, the FDA released new guidelines giving many people a greater opportunity to donate blood and help save lives in our community! Get more information on these FDA guidelines for blood donors here.

Donation Requirements Whole Blood Double Red Cell Platelets
Minimum Age 17 / 16* 17 17
Maximum Age None None None
Minimum Weight 120 lbs. Male 130 lbs.
Female 150 lbs.
110 lbs
Minimum Height None Male 5' 1"
Female 5' 5"

* 16 year olds may donate whole blood only with a ConnectLife signed parental consent. Download the consent packet here.


Common Eligibility Criteria

Medical Conditions

Cancer -
Permanent Deferral: Malignant melanoma, leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease
Acceptable Diagnosed Grade Zero – Eligible 1 year post-procedure: Localized skin cancer (basal cell or squamous cell) or cervical carcinoma in-situ
All other cancers must be in remission at least 5 years
Diabetes –
Oral medication – Acceptable
Single daily use injectable with an oral medication - Acceptable
Insulin – Insulin dependent diabetics are eligible for whole blood donation only as long as he/she have NEVER taken Bovine insulin

High Blood Pressure –
Systolic 90-180 / Diastolic 50-100 range is Acceptable. Most BP medications are acceptable
Pregnancy –
Eligible to donate 6 weeks after delivery
Cold or Flu – Not eligible until symptom free for 2 days

Medical Procedures

Surgery –
Received a blood transfusion – Eligible 3 months after transfusion
No blood transfusion – Generally accepted after released from physician’s care, feel well, and resumed full activity.
Bone or tissue graft –From self or synthetic: eligible when healed & released from physician’s care. From another person: eligible 3 months after graft. From an animal: permanent deferral.

Piercings (Ear or Body)–
Sterile single use materials must have been used. If unknown, waiting period is 3 months from date of piercing.
Self-piercing – waiting period is 3 months from date of piercing.
Tattoos –
Waiting period is 3 months from the date of tattoo.


Note: Most medications are not cause for deferral, though the underlying condition they are taken for may be. A complete evaluation can be made during donor screening or contact us for further information.
Aspirin – Acceptable for whole blood donations. Platelet and Platelet/Plasma donors must wait three days after last dose.
Antibiotics (oral) –Must have completed and be free from illness.  Generally OK if taken for acne and penicillin-free.

Allergy shots – Can donate immediately.

Vaccinations –
Flu – Can donate immediately. 
HPV – Can donate immediately. 
Hepatitis B – One day waiting period. If post-exposure, deferral is one year. 
Measles/Mumps/Rubella – Waiting period is 4 weeks. 
Pneumonia – Can donate immediately. 
Shingrix (for Shingles) – Can donate immediately.
Zostavax (for Shingles) – Waiting period is 4 weeks.


Travel –

Travel within the US and Canada is acceptable. Some other travel destinations may require temporary waiting periods or may be cause for permanent deferral due to high risk for malaria, vCJD (mad cow disease), or HIV. A complete evaluation can be made during donor screening or contact us for further information.

Travel to malaria risk area – Deferral period is 3 months after departure
Residence (lived > 5 years) in a malaria risk area – Deferral period is 3 years after departure

Permanent/Indefinite Disqualifications

Spent 3 months or more (cumulative) in the United Kingdom countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands between 1980 and 1996.

Spent 5 years or more in France or Ireland (Not including Northern Ireland) between 1980 and 2001.

Blood transfusion in the United Kingdom, Ireland, or France since 1980

History of illicit drug use using a needle (including steroids)
Human growth hormone injections (pituitary derived).

Have Questions?

Call 716-529-4270 if you have more questions about blood donation eligibility. Please remember, even if you are temporarily or permanently deferred from donating blood, there are other ways you can support ConnectLife. Volunteer, sign up on the NYS Donate Life Registry, or host a blood drive.