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Blood Donation

Approximately every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. In fact, according to a recent poll, 52 per cent of Canadians say they, or a family member, have needed blood or blood products for surgery or for medical treatment.
The good news is that one blood donation - in just one hour - can save a life.


Am I Eligible?
Please note that this information is subject to change. Final eligibility determination rests with the screening staff at the donor clinic.


Identification with full name and signature, or full name and photograph required.


To donate, you must be at least 17 years of age, in general good health, and feeling well on the day of your donation. If you have never donated before and have had your 61st birthday, or if you are between the ages of 67 and 71, and have not donated within the last two years, you must be assessed by a physician who must fill out and sign the following letter. You must also meet the other standard requirements for donation.


Letter to the Attending Physician (Please bring the completed letter with you to the clinic when you next come in to donate)

At least 50 kg (110 lb).


Frequency of Donation
Minimum interval between blood donations is 56 days.


In general good health and feeling well. You should have had something to eat and adequate sleep. You must also meet hemoglobin (iron) requirements (test done at clinic).


At the time of donation, you will be asked a number of questions to determine your eligibility.
Donating blood does not put you at risk of disease. All needles are sterile, used only once and discarded. The usual blood collection - a "unit" - is about half a litre, or one pint. Your body soon replaces all the blood you donate.


Malaria policy criteria
Our malaria policy impacts people who spend time in malaria-risk zones and people who have had malaria. The table below outlines this policy.


Duration in risk zone Policy
Less than 6 consecutive months

Eligible to donate blood one year after departure date from malaria-risk zone:


All components of your donation (red cells, platelets and plasma) can be used for transfusion.

6 or more consecutive months Eligible to donate blood three years after departure date from malaria-risk zone:

All components of your donation (red cells, platelets and plasma) can be used for transfusion.
"I have had malaria" Not eligible to donate blood.



Give before you go!


Don’t let your travel plans sideline you from saving lives! If you’re planning to visit a region affected by malaria, consider donating blood before you travel.





Every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. Much of the blood that is transfused every year is done under emergency or trauma situations. In Canada, hundreds of thousands of people each year receive blood components or blood products following accidents, during surgery or for cancer treatments, burn therapy, hemophilia and other blood-related diseases.

  • The average amount of blood in one person is five litres or 10.5 pints
  • There are approximately 450 ml of blood in a unit
  • On average, 4.6 units of blood are required per patient
  • In 2004/2005 Canadian Blood Services collected approximately 850,000 units of whole blood


Blood Uses


Blood and blood products are a critical part of everyday medical care, such as major surgeries and other medical procedures.

  • Red blood cells can be used to help accident victims, surgical patients and people with anaemia.
  • Platelets can be used to treat leukemia and cancer patients.
  • Plasma is effective in treating patients suffering from burns or shock.
  • Cryoprecipitate, an additional component of blood, has been used to treat hemophilia and now other blood disorders


Blood transfusions are a critical element of:

  • Organ transplants
  • Cancer therapy
  • Heart surgery
  • Treatment for anaemia
  • Treatment for blood disorders
  • Resuscitation of trauma victims
  • Caring for premature infants

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