Canadian Blood Services reduces restrictions for blood donation

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 7, September 2016, Pages 403-404 News

Thousands more people may now be eligible to donate blood following recent changes to a number of Canadian Blood Services deferral policies and donor restrictions. The following notable changes are now in effect across Canada:

  • The upper age limit for donating has been eliminated. Donors over the age of 71 no longer need to have their physician fill out an assessment form before donating blood.
  • Donors who have a history of most cancers (e.g., breast cancer, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer) will be eligible to donate if they have been cancer free for 5 years. This change does not apply to those with a history of hematological cancers (e.g., lymphomas, leukemia, melanoma).
  • Donors who have recently received most vaccines, such as a flu shot, will no longer need to wait 2 days before donating blood.
  • Donors who were born in or lived in some African countries (Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, and Nigeria) are now eligible to donate blood. HIV testing performed on blood donors can now detect HIV strains found in these countries.
  • Geographic deferrals affecting Western Europe have been revised based on scientific evidence that indicates the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has decreased since January 2008. Donors who spent 5 years or more in Western Europe since 1980 are deferred from donating blood, but Canadian Blood Services is now including an end date of 2007. Donors who reached the 5-year limit in Western Europe after 2007 will now be eligible to donate blood.

The complete policy changes are available at New donors who have never been screened can book an appointment online at, call 1-888-2DONATE, or visit a clinic.

. Canadian Blood Services reduces restrictions for blood donation. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 7, September, 2016, Page(s) 403-404 - News.

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