To ensure the blood supply is as safe as possible, all donors must meet specific eligibility criteria outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as accrediting organizations such as the AABB.
Donors are screened for disease risk factors using a confidential health history questionnaire to ask specific and direct questions regarding lifestyle, health, medical history and travel to assure their own health will not be compromised by a blood donation and that patients receive safe blood products. Regularly, new scientific data supports updating donor suitability.
The FDA has revised its donor acceptability guidelines, and Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center will implement these changes beginning May 23, 2016. The following are significant updates that will impact many donors:
• The minimum hemoglobin for males raised from 12.5 g/dl to 13.0 g/dl (39% HcT). Sometimes called the “iron test,” The Blood Center will raise the minimum hematocrit for men from 38% to 39%. There is no change to the minimum for women (remains 38%).
• The Blood Center must weigh all apheresis (automated) donors. Whole blood donors will still self-report their weight.
• Lifetime ban on MSM donors lifted. The indefinite deferral for MSM (men who have sex with other men) donors has changed. Donors must abstain for a period of 12 months in order to donate blood.
• Pulse added with range of 50 to 100 bpm. Currently, there is no deferral criteria for pulse.
As a result of changes being made to the donor history questionnaire, individuals who currently qualify for the abbreviated questionnaire must complete two full-length questionnaires within six months of each other in order to qualify for the abbreviated version going forward.
Our donors' cooperation is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions regarding eligibility, please contact our Medical Services department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.