Thanks to advanced testing methods and strict safety requirements, the United States blood supply is safer than ever. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all blood banks to use standard safety procedures and rigorously monitors compliance. Every unit donated to Michigan Blood is tested using state-of-the art technology and meets or exceeds FDA standards to ensure every unit of blood is safe for transfusion to patients. The risk of contracting a disease such as HIV from a blood transfusion is about one in 1.5 million.

Pre-Donation Safety

  • Blood donors are not paid. This means less incentive to hide high-risk behaviors.
  • All donor information is strictly confidential.
  • All donors must undergo a health screening, and physical guidelines must be met to ensure both the safety of the donor and the safety of the recipient.
  • Donors with certain health risks or those diagnosed with infectious diseases are deferred from donating.
  • The donation process involves single-use, sterile supplies.
  • Any blood product that does not meet safety guidelines is safely disposed.

Donation Restrictions

You may have to wait to donate blood under the following circumstances:

  • Allergies – OK if symptoms are minor.
  • Colds & Flu – OK if no fever/diarrhea in past 24 hours and you feel well.
  • Infectious Diseases – Check with our Donor Services staff if exposed to any contagious disease (measles, chicken pox, mumps, mononucleosis, whooping cough) in the past 4-6 weeks.
  • Pregnancy – Wait 6 weeks after delivery or interrupted pregnancy.
  • Body/Ear Piercing – Wait 12 months if not performed with sterile, single use equipment. If sterile single use equipment was used, the site must be healed.
  • Tattoos/Permanent Makeup – Wait 12 months if not performed in state regulated facility. If performed in a state regulated facility, must be healed. 
    The following states are NOT regulated: Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wyoming
  • Travel – Some areas are at risk for malaria or Zika. 
  • Infections – Wait until infection is resolved and off antibiotics for 2 days.
  • Medications – Most are acceptable but you must know the name of the medication and the reason you are taking it.
  • Vaccinations – If it is a flu vaccination, you can donate.  For other vaccinations, please check with Donor Services staff.
  • Chronic lung, liver, or heart disease – wait time is variable.
  • Past Deferrals – Please try again unless you were told that you should never donate again, as changes in donor criteria may make you eligible now.

You may not donate blood if:

  • You have AIDS or have had a positive HIV test. You have had viral hepatitis after your 11th birthday.
  • You have spent a total of 3 months in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996.

Zika Virus Deferral Information

Zika virus is spreading quickly and is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitos. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has designated certain areas as Zika risk areas. For the safety of patients who need blood, we are asking donors to read this Zika Virus Self-Deferral sheet and use it to help determine your eligibility to donate. Thank you.

Blood Testing

Extensive testing is performed on every pint of donated blood. A total of 13 tests are conducted before a pint is released for transfusion.

  • ABO/Rh blood type
  • Red blood cell antibodies
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – three separate tests
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS – two separate tests
  • Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV)
  • Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) – two separate tests
  • West Nile Virus (WNV)
  • Chagas disease