Basic requirements of a blood donor

Age icon

Age - Blood Donor

  • Donors can donate once they have reached their 17th birthday.
  • 1st time donors can donate up to their sixty-sixth birthday.
  • Regular donors (i.e. those who give at least one donation in a two year period) can continue to donate beyond 70 years, provided they remain otherwise fit and well.
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Weight - Blood Donor

  • Donors should weigh at least 50kg (7 stone 12 pounds).
  • If you are a female & aged less than 20 years old additional height and weight criteria apply. We need to estimate your blood volume before deciding if you can donate.
  • There is no upper weight limit. However, our donation beds will safely accommodate a donor weighing up to 25 stone (158kg).
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Blood Count - Blood Donor

  • Donors need to have an adequate haemoglobin (blood count) to donate.
  • Haemoglobin levels have been set at 125 g/l for females and 135 g/l for males.
  • Donors will have their blood count checked each time they come to donate. We do this by taking a tiny drop of blood from the fingertip.
How Often icon

How often can I donate blood?

  • Female donors can give blood every 16 weeks (every 4 months or 3 times in a 12 month period).
  • Male donors can now give blood every 12 weeks (every 3 months or 4 times in a 12 month period).
  • NIBTS will however continue to send out invitations to both male and female donors approximately every 16 weeks.
  • The difference in donation frequency relates specifically to lower iron levels in women. Whilst a donor's blood volume is restored within a few hours, it can take eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating. Replacing this iron through diet alone can take a long time, especially with other concurrent losses, for example, menstruation in women.