Canadian Blood Services eases restrictions on donors

This year roughly 100,000 new donors are needed to roll up their sleeves to maintain Canada's blood supply.

Paulina Angeles

Paulina Angeles

OTTAWA — Canadian Blood Services has eased its restrictions on blood donations.

The upper age limit for donating blood has been eliminated and donors age 71 and older not longer need to have their doctor fill out an assessment first.

People who have survived most cancers — such as breast, thyroid and prostate cancers and have been free of cancer for at least five years can donate now, with the exception of people with a history of hematoligical cancers like lymphomas, leukemia or melanoma.

And people who have received a vaccination such as a flu shot no longer need to wait two days before donating blood.

Also, people born in or who lived in Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger and Nigeria can now donate blood because HIV testing can detect the HIV strains associated with these countries.

Because the risk posed by variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (mad cow disease) has decreased since January 2008, people not able to donate because they spent five years or more in Western Europe since 1980 are now able to donate if they’ve reached the five year limit in Western Europe after 2007.

“Canadian Blood Services regularly reviews the criteria used to determine if someone is eligible to donate blood, including geographic and age restrictions based on new scientific information,” said Dr. Mindy Goldman, medical director of donor and clinical services for Canadian Blood Services. “These restrictions are no longer necessary. We estimate that about 3,000 people who try to donate each year but cannot will now be eligible to donate due to these changes.”

This year roughly 100,000 new donors are needed to roll up their sleeves to maintain Canada’s blood supply.