Blood donation?

My school is having a blood drive next week and since I just turned 16, I’m old enough to participate. My question is–is it legal/safe for PWD to donate blood in the US? I know it’s not allowed in the UK but I’ve had trouble finding a definitive answer for the US.
Thanks :slight_smile:

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hi @bookwormnerd13 legal and safe are 2 different things.

legal; yes.
Red cross: rules

  • Be in good general health and feeling well.
  • Be at least 17 years old in most states (16 years old with parental consent in some states).
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs. Additional height and weight requirements apply for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school student donors.
  • Have not donated blood in the last 56 days.

and specifically for diabetes:
Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate.

as for “safe”, if you have nominally low blood pressure or are dehydrated, donating blood will knock you for a loop. it’s best to avoid the “orange juice” they give you and opt for a large glass of water, it would make sense to drink extra water a few hours before, and then again afterwards. that water replaces the lost fluids when you give blood. I also recommend you eat as soon as you are able.

Female donors who are 18 years old and younger must weigh 110 lbs. or more, depending on their height. See chart below:

cheers good luck!

:slight_smile: THIS will make you laugh

Donors with diabetes who since 1980, ever used bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about variant CJD, or ‘mad cow’ disease.

See: Variant CJD and blood donation.

I actually asked Lilly if they had data on the source of beef pancreases and they either would not or could not answer. I am almost sure they weren’t british cows…but you never know! if, after all this, I get mad cow disease I’ll scream.

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@joe Thank you so much for the info, I really appreciate it!!
And if you do end up with mad cow disease… it’ll be ironic to say the least. Fingers crossed for good health :rofl:

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Yes you can totally donate blood! I found this out a few years ago after always thinking I couldn’t. As already mentioned, make sure you’re well hydrated before and after for at least 24 hours. The technicians will go over everything for you and are great with answering questions. Along with water, after donating, at some point that day or evening I always drink at least one large low-sugar Gatorade (G2) or PowerAde to replace sodium and electrolytes. Hope it is a great experience for you. It is pretty amazing all the people helped/saved by donated blood.

The red Cross website says no. If you are insulin depended. It has more to do with your health than anything. Giving blood can mess with your sugar and lead to problems. The best thing to do is go to the blood drive and ask. They can tell you and let you know the reason. It’s not illegal in the US

Doesn’t donating blood spread diabetes those? That’s what I’ve been told.

No Amanda @AAT1D, giving blood WILL NOT give diabetes to anyone.
You did not “catch” diabetes by being near someone with diabetes and no one will get diabetes from you.
It is still kind of a mystery how someone gets TypeOne, but it is well understood that we got our diabetes because something went haywire with our immune systems. What happened is that the body mechanisms that are supposed to protect us from harm - our immune system - keep thinking our Beta Cells are an enemy and kill them off - the Beta Cells produce insulin.


Oh. OK. I was always told otherwise. Thanks Dennis! :slight_smile:

Yes, a PWD can donate whole blood. You just need to be in good health, have stable blood glucose, and not be dehydrated and have your sugars UNDER 200.
You might be asked to test your blood glucose before you donate to make sure you are safe to donate, but other than that there should be no issue.
Plasma on the other hand is NO.
I worked for the America Red Cross Blood Services for almost 6 years as a volunteer recruiter and in donor services so this is what I did for a living :shushing_face:
Thank you for wanting to try and donate.
1 donation can save up to 3 lives.

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Whats plasma? And why can’t a T1D donate it?

Donate, donate, donate! We need more donors! Diabetic or not. :slight_smile:

Blood is made up of a bunch of different components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc. Plasma is the fluid all the other parts float around in. Without enough plasma, all the cells and nutrients in your blood can’t move around the body and are pretty much useless.

I don’t know why diabetics can’t donate plasma, though.

In Texas most donations come through Carter Blood Care and if you get pre-approval from their Medical Director it eases the way for your donations. And since I am A+, I requested donating Plasma rather than whole blood and was approved. With Plasma donations you do have to avoid Aspirin for 72 hours before hand. I made it to 12 gallons before my ‘retirement’.

Joe, as I remember it ALL of the beef insulin “made” in Britain was first made by Eli Lilly and shipped there for packaging so that it WASN’T an “American” product. Couldn’t mess up their story with reality, after all…

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I donated today; it was a great experience! For some reason my blood sugar is super high–idk if that’s related to donating or if it’s just “one of those days”. Either way, no regrets!! I encourage everyone here who is able, to donate when you have the chance. :slight_smile: