Who can donate blood?
Donated blood must be safe for patients and blood donation must not be harmful to the donor. Therefore, donors have to be in good health and must not have any conditions that could worsen by donating blood.
• The donor must be healthy.
• The donor must be 18 to 65 years of age.
• First-time donors may not be older than 59.
• Blood haemoglobin concentration should be 135—195 g/l for men and 125—175 g/l for women.
• The donor must weigh at least 50 kg.
• The donor must have been a resident in the Nordic countries for the past three months.
• The donor must present an official identity document bearing the holder's photo. The document must also show the holder's personal identity code, and it must be issued by a Finnish authority. Such documents include: Finnish passport, Finnish driving licence, Sickness Insurance Card with a photo issued by KELA (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) and an identity card issued by the Finnish police. A residence permit card/document is not accepted. For more information on obtaining a personal identity code go to Population Register Centre. The identity document must be presented each time in order to donate.
• The required waiting period between two donations is 61 days for men and 91 days for women.
• The blood donor should have healthy skin. The arm from which the blood is drawn must be entirely rash-free. If you have a rash/skin condition elsewhere on your body, please tell the nurse interviewing you about it.
Certain situations involve an increased risk of exposure to blood-borne diseases. Such circumstances may temporarily or permanently prevent blood donation. Some common reasons are listed below:
• Recently taken tattoos, pigmentations or piercing of mucous membranes: four month waiting period before next blood donation (risk of hepatitis C or B infection)
• New sex partner: four month waiting period before next blood donation (risk of hepatitis or HIV infection). Although condom use greatly reduces the risk of infection, all sexual contact, including protected sex, is considered to carry a risk of infection. Therefore, a new sex partner must be reported on the health questionnaire.
• Travel in malarial areas: six month waiting period before next blood donation from the time of returning home and the end of malaria profylaxis (risk of malaria infection).
•Living in Britain for over six months between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 1996 prevents blood donation permanently (risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is the human form of BSE or 'mad cow disease').
• Exposure to blood, for example from a needle stick injury: four month waiting period before next blood donation (risk of hepatitis or HIV infection).
• A blood transfusion received in Finland or in another Nordic country: four month waiting period before next blood donation.
• A blood transfusion received outside the Nordic countries prevents blood donation permanently (risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is the human form of BSE or 'mad cow disease').
• Donors who have an occupation or a hobby where dizziness might cause a hazardous situation should allow at least 12 hours between blood donation and embarking on the work/hobby. These include flying, driving a train, operating a crane or diving. This recommendation is, first and foremost, intended to protect the donor's health.
• Sex between men prevents blood donation permanently because of the increased risk of hepatitis or HIV infection (number of HIV infections about tenfold compared with population in general). For more information, see the statement issued by the ombudsman (in Finnish): Tiedote oikeusasiamiehen vastauksesta_300608.pdf
Most of the commonly used medicines (e.g. pain killers and medicines for allergy, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol) do not prevent donation. However, some medicines or drug therapy may prevent blood donation temporarily or permanently.
Recent changes to blood donation criteria
to obtain more information about any conditions and/or medication which could affect your eligibility to donate blood.
Eligibility to donate is assessed prior each donation. Please note that replying 'yes' to a particular question does not automatically prevent blood donation. Your eligibility is determined after a nurse has interviewed you.
You may approach our staff regarding the blood donation criteria applicable to you by calling our free Donor Helpline on 0800 0 5801 or by submitting your question online at email@example.com.
The blood donor must understand and speak Finnish, Swedish or English. Using an interpreter is not permitted.
Please see the Health Questionnaire below for reference. It must be completed in person before each donation at the venue.
Donor information pack
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