Giving Blood: Our quick guide to becoming a donor

March 28, 2023

Giving blood saves lives. The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments. 

Why do we need you to give blood? 

Blood donors are needed from all backgrounds to ensure there is the right blood available for everyone who need it. 

We need new blood donors from all backgrounds to ensure there is the right blood available for patients who need it. 

The Give Blood website indicates that they need: 

  • Nearly 400 new donors a day to meet demand 
  • Around 135,000 new donors a year to replace those who can no longer donate 
  • 40,000 more black donors to meet growing demand for better-matched blood 
  • 30,000 new donors with priority blood types such as O negative every year 
  • More young people to start giving blood so we can make sure we have enough blood in the future 

Restrictions on who can give blood 

Sometimes, certain conditions or illnesses mean a person cannot donate blood. You cannot donate if you: 

  • Have had most types of cancer 
  • Have some heart conditions 
  • Have received blood, platelets, plasma or any other blood products after 1st January 1980 
  • Have tested positive for HIV 
  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Are a hepatitis B carrier 
  • Are a hepatitis C carrier 
  • Have injected non prescribed drugs including body building and injectable tanning agents. You may be able to give if a doctor prescribed the drugs. 

You will need to wait before you can donate if you: 

A full list of exceptions to being able to donate blood is available here. 

How often can I give blood? 

Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women can give blood every 16 weeks. 

This is because men generally have higher iron levels than women. 

A brief video explaining the blood donation process is available here 

I want to donate blood – where can I sign up? 

To be able to donate blood, you must: 

  • Be generally fit and well 
  • Be aged between 17 and 65 
  • Weigh between 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and 25 stone (158kg) 
  • Have suitable veins 
  • Meet all donor eligibility criteria 

To register as a blood donator, you can visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website. 

More information 

Further information is available from the NHS ‘Give Blood’ website, including: 

  • Why give blood? 
  • Who can give blood, and how to sign up 
  • The donation process 
  • Where to donate? 

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