Having low hemoglobin levels is one of the most common reasons individuals are deferred from donating blood.
Female blood donors must have a minimum hemoglobin level of 12.5 g/dL and male blood donors must have a minimum of 13.0 g/dL to donate. This required hemoglobin level is set by the FDA for the safety of the donor. A hemoglobin level below 12.5 g/dL for women and 13.0 g/dL for men may be normal for you or it may mean you have a condition call anemia. Your health care provider can best advise you whether treatment is needed.
Even with a normal hemoglobin level, iron levels can be low. The most important frequent donors can do to maintain their iron stores is to take a multivitamin with iron or an iron supplement. Our current recommendation is 18-38 mg of iron once a day following each red cell donation. Your physician or pharmacist may be able to assist you in deciding what dose, type and duration of iron supplement to choose.
We’re shortening the deferral wait to just one day. You’ll still need to increase your iron level in time for your next appointment, but you won’t have to wait as long to schedule your next appointment.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center does not directly measure your iron. We are the first independent licensed blood center in Texas to use OrSense’s NBM-200 to check hemoglobin levels for donors before donation to ensure healthy measurements. OrSense received FDA approval to use NBM-200 in blood banks in 2019. The device is a pneumatic finger sensor cuff and slides right on the thumb. It’s attached to a cord that plugs into a small machine where donor levels display.