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FAQs for minimum age

The minimum age for whole blood donation will be changing from 16 years to 18 years from 14 January 2018. 

For more information on what this change means for you please take a look at the information below.

Aren’t iron levels checked prior to donation? Why can’t you tell if a donor has enough iron to donate?

We test your haemoglobin level before each donation. This is an important screening test to ensure your haemoglobin level is sufficient for you to donate. The haemoglobin level will drop when iron stores become considerably depleted, but they are not a good measure of iron levels. It is possible to have low iron levels and a normal haemoglobin level.There is currently no suitable testing device available to measure iron levels immediately prior to donation. The Blood Service continues to investigate options for measuring iron stores prior to donation.

Could donating have affected the health of youth donors?

Every time you donate whole blood, you are donating iron-rich red blood cells. Because young people are still growing, they have higher requirements for iron. The body replaces iron lost through donation by absorbing more iron from the diet. There is considerable variation in how long donors take to replace this iron – this will depend on the type and amount of iron in the diet, and whether there are other iron losses (for example, through menstruation). We recommend that donors who are concerned about their iron levels, consult their doctor.

Will you contact current youth donors when they turn 18 to make an appointment?

We will not be contacting donors individually when they turn 18. You will need to contact the Blood Service to make an appointment. Appointments can be scheduled for three months in advance, and, subject to meeting standard eligibility criteria, donors will be able to give blood the day they’ve turned 18. 

How can youth donors stay involved with the Blood Service?

There’s lots of ways young people can take action to make their communities stronger. From building skills and confidence to acting in times of disaster or supporting vulnerable young people. 

Young people can become members and connect with other leaders. There are also volunteer opportunities available now or you can register your interest.

Or get in touch with The Australian Red Cross volunteer enquiry team on 1800 833 489.

Why are younger donors being targeted? Don’t all donors lose iron with a whole blood donation?

Because young people require more iron to support their growth and development, they generally have lower iron levels and may take longer to replenish the iron lost with a whole blood donation. Looking after the health and wellbeing of donors is a key priority of the Blood Service. Hence our decision to raise the minimum age for whole blood donation to 18.

Can I still donate if I have good iron levels and have a letter from my doctor? 

No. As of 14 January 2018, donors under 18 years of age will be unable to donate. The policy change is being introduced in the interests of ensuring donor health and wellbeing. 

I donate with a Red25 group. What does this mean for the group?

The group will still remain open so your parents, teachers and friends donations can still add to the tally if they are over 18. After you turn 18 you can still have your donations go towards the groups tally. 

Where can I go for information on blood donation iron?

For more information about iron and blood donation take a look at our brochure 


Please call us on 13 14 95 if you have any further questions.