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Donation Postponement: it’s not forever!

Thursday 11th Jul 2019

There are many reasons you may be postponed from donating blood, but very few of them mean you are ineligible forever. All our postponements are in place to protect your health, and the health of the person who receives your blood. 

We appreciate you, please don’t leave forever

It’s amazing that you want to donate blood, and we know it can be disappointing to be told you can’t right now. Rest assured we’ll need your donation just as much the next time you visit. Honestly, the need for blood never stops. 

It comes down to this

There are two main reasons why we might postpone your donation:

  1. We want you to leave your donation feeling well. Your health is very important to us. Different factors can change how donating blood affects your body. We don’t want to put you at risk when you could donate another time that’s better for your health.
  2. Maintaining patient health and safety is critical. Although we test your blood before it’s given to a patient, our tests can’t pick up every harmful condition straight away. That’s why we leave time to allow for any infections to be detected by our tests, or for you to recover.

Let’s unpack four of our most common short-term postponements, to let you know when you can return from your donation vacation. 

Fresh Ink & Piercings 

There’s a popular urban legend that having a tattoo means you can’t donate blood. On the contrary, we know you’re comfortable with needles, so you make the ideal blood donor candidate. You can donate blood 4 months after a new tattoo. 

Another group comfortable with needles are those of you with new piercings. If your ear piercing was done with clean, single-use disposable equipment, you can donate plasma immediately. 24 hours after your ear piercing you can donate whole blood or platelets.

When it comes to piercings other than your ears, if it was done with clean, single-use disposable equipment, you can donate plasma for 4 months after having it done. Following that, you’re clear to donate whole blood or platelets.

If any piercing wasn’t done with clean, single-use equipment, or you’re not sure, you’ll need to wait at least 4 months before you can donate. 

Dental work

We love blood donors who look after themselves with regular dental visits! When you can donate again after dental treatment depends on what you’ve had done. 
Simple treatments (cleaning, fillings and braces) mean for the first 24 hours after seeing the dentist, you can give plasma. After 24 hours, provided you’re feeling well, you can donate whole blood or platelets.

If you’ve had extractions, crowns, root canals, you can donate plasma straight away, or whole blood or platelets 7 days after, provided you are recovered and have no symptoms.

If you’ve had dental implants or major surgery, give us a call on 13 14 95 so we can help you find out when you can donate again. 


The best way to ensure your travel doesn’t impact your blood donation is to donate before you go. We’d love to be on everyone’s pre-travel checklist!

After you return from certain countries, you may need to wait a while before giving blood. Even if you take precautions when travelling to areas with a high risk of certain infections, there’s a small risk you could still catch something and not know it. It could then be transmitted through your blood to a patient.

Often, even if you can’t donate whole blood for a little while, you may be able to donate plasma immediately after your return. To find out, check postponement times for your destination


We’re overwhelmed with gratitude about the fact that new Mums are thinking about donating blood. We want you to hold onto that enthusiasm for at least 9 months after childbirth, and until your baby is significantly weaned (that is, getting most of their nutrition from solids).

The wait after childbirth gives your body enough time to replenish its stores of iron, and the wait for your baby to be significantly weaned ensures your baby gets everything they need, and your body only has to focus on providing that nourishment. 

What now?

When you’re postponed you’ll usually be given a time period after which you can donate. 

  1. Note your postponement end date in your diary or calendar. 
  2. When that date comes up, check your eligibility again using our frequently asked questions or give us a call on 13 14 95.
  3. Once you’re ready, simply book a new appointment.