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About donation postponements

Thank you for wanting to donate. We truly appreciate the time you’ve taken, and we’re sorry if you aren’t able to donate right now.

Why do we postpone?

We wish everyone could donate every time. Sometimes, though, there might be temporary health, lifestyle or travel-related reasons why you can’t donate right now. This is called a donation postponement.

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 any unnecessary risk when you could donate at 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.

What do I do if I’ve had my donation postponed?

Usually, you’ll be given a time period after which your postponement will be over. 

  1. Note your postponement end date in your diary or calendar. 
  2. When that date comes up, check your eligibility again using the information below and our frequently asked questions. Or, to double check, contact us online or give us a call on 13 14 95.
  3. Once you’re sure you’re OK to donate, simply book a new appointment.

If you’re not sure when your postponement will be over, contact us.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Common postponement reasons

This isn’t all of them! If you have any questions, check the full list or contact us.

Antibiotics

If you’re taking antibiotics for an illness or infection, you need to have completed the full course of antibiotics at least five days before you donate.

If you’re taking preventative antibiotics for mild acne (minocycline, doxycycline or erythromycin) you can donate any time.

Other preventative antibiotics are OK in some cases. Call us on 13 14 95 to check.

Common illnesses (colds, flu, sore throats and coughs)

We want you to be well during and after your donation, so if you’re feeling unwell, cancel or reschedule your appointment, stay home and rest up. 

  • If you have a minor illness without a fever, like a cold or sore throat, rest up and donate blood once you’ve recovered. Read more about colds
  • If you’ve caught influenza or a flu-like illness with a fever, get well soon! Depending on the cause of your fever, it’s likely you can donate 2 weeks after you’re fully recovered. 
  • If you have a cough you may not be be able to donate and, depending on what it’s caused by, you may need to wait for some time after you’re better. It’s best to call us on 13 14 95 to check when you can donate again.

If you are unwell, you can cancel or reschedule your appointment online or by calling 13 14 95.

Dental work

When you can donate after dental treatment depends on what you’ve had done. 

  • Simple treatments (cleaning, fillings and braces): For the first 24 hours after seeing the dentist, you can only give plasma. After 24 hours, provided you’re feeling well, you can donate whole blood or platelets.
  • 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.
  • Major surgery: These may need a longer postponement. Call us on 13 14 95 to find out when you can donate again.
  • Dental implants: If the products used for your implant included material sourced from cattle, provided they are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods at the time of the procedure, and the procedure was performed in Australia, you will be able to donate 7 days after the last treatment. Any other products (including those sourced from other animal sources) also permit donation 7 days after the last treatment.

Headaches and migraines

If you have a headache or migraine, you won’t be able to donate. If you have recurrent headaches or have other symptoms as well (like a fever, cough or sore throat), you won’t be able to donate and we recommend you see your doctor.

Don’t forget to cancel or reschedule your appointment online or by calling 13 14 95.

Iron or haemoglobin levels (low) 

Haemoglobin is a protein in your blood. If your finger prick test at your appointment shows low haemoglobin it can be a sign of low iron levels. 

If that happens, you won’t be able to donate on the day. We’ll also test your blood in our lab and let you know by letter if you need to see a doctor to further check your iron levels and when you can donate again.

If you’ve been diagnosed with low iron, or anaemia, by a doctor, you won’t be able to donate until it has been investigated, treated and corrected. Learn more about low iron or haemoglobin

Iron levels (high)

If you have:

  • high iron levels, you may be able to donate, but it will need to be investigated and cleared by your doctor first.
  • haemochromatosis, which is one of several causes of high iron levels, we may be able to offer you therapeutic blood collection. This is a blood donation given to reduce the iron in your body and is a treatment that needs to be requested by your doctor.

Learn more about high iron levels

Medical results (waiting for)

If you’re waiting for results from a proactive health test for early detection — such as a mammogram, pap smear, bowel screening, cholesterol test or prostate screening — you’re fine to donate. 

If you’ve had a test for a specific reason or investigation, or to diagnose a health problem, you may need to wait. Call us on 13 14 95 to check when you can donate.

Open cuts/sores/abrasions/rashes

You may be able to donate, depending on the type of donation. Generally, if your wound/abrasion is clean, dry, not infected and you finished antibiotics 5 days ago, you can donate. However, if your wound resulted from a major accident or surgery, see ‘Surgery or medical procedure (upcoming or recent)’ below. If you’re not sure if you’re OK to donate, call us on 13 14 95.

For rashes and sores, it depends on the type and if you’re taking any medications for it, so it’s best to call us on 13 14 95 to check when you can donate.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

These precautions are to keep you and your baby safe and well. 

  • You can’t donate while you’re pregnant, to protect your health and avoid putting stress on your and your baby’s circulation. Learn more about postponement during pregnancy
  • Once the baby is born, you’ll need to wait another nine months from your delivery date to give your body enough time to replenish its stores of iron. 
  • If you’re breastfeeding, you also have to wait until your baby is mostly weaned (that is, getting most of its nutrients from solid food) before you can donate. Learn more about postponement during breastfeeding

Surgery or medical procedure (upcoming or recent)

For your own health and safety, you may have to wait before donating if you’re going to have, or have had, surgery. 

  • Upcoming surgery within 84 days before you hope to donate: You may need to wait before donating. Please call us on 13 14 95 to discuss your eligibility.
  • After surgery: How long you need to wait before donating depends on the medical condition the surgery was for, the type of surgery and the recovery period. Call us on 13 14 95 to see when you can donate.

If you received a blood transfusion before, during or after your surgery, you’ll need to wait at least 12 months from the transfusion before donating.

If you’ve had a medical or surgical procedure or are awaiting test results following a procedure, it’s best to call 13 14 95 to check when you can donate.

Tattoos (including cosmetic) and piercings

  • Tattoos: You can donate again after 4 months.
  • Ear piercing: If the piercing was done with clean, single-use disposable equipment, you can only donate plasma for 24 hours after having it done. Following that, you can donate whole blood or platelets.
  • Body piercing: If the piercing was done with clean, single-use disposable equipment, you can only donate plasma for 4 months after having it done. Following that, you’re good to donate whole blood or platelets.

Whether it’s your ear or any other type of piercing, if the 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. If this is the case, call us on 13 14 95 before you book to check that you’re OK to donate.

Travel

After you return from a trip to 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 straight away after your return.

To find out, check postponement times for your destination

Vaccines

When you can donate what (blood, plasma or platelets) depends on what type of vaccination you’ve had. Check postponement times for other vaccine types.

If you’ve had a flu vaccine, you can donate straight away. 

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