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Can one donate blood after 60 years of age?

Blood donation is a very noble hope that can improve or even save someone’s life. It is said that anybody can donate blood, from young adults to the elderly. While that statement is true there are certain criteria that one must clear before they are eligible enough to donate blood. There is also a certain belief that people above the age of 60 years cannot donate blood. This is a misconception that many people have.

According to the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) and National AIDS Control Organization (2017), one must fulfill the following basic criteria to be eligible for donating blood:

  • Donor must be between the ages 18 -65 years.
  • Must weigh at least 45kgs.
  • Have Haemoglobin of at least 12.5 grams.

The misconception of the age limit comes from the age criteria while donating blood. People donating blood for the first time cannot be over 60 years of age. First timers are deferred if they are over 60 years old, notwithstanding the other criteria that they may clear. However, for repeat donors, the upper age limit is 65 years.

The donor should be in good health, mentally alert and physically fit and shall not be inmates of jail or any other confinement. There are various more criteria that are looked upon by doctors before they obtain the blood. In some circumstances the donor may be deferred, either temporarily or permanently. Such situations may include:

  • Surgery of major or minor levels and/or received blood transfusion – temporarily deferred
  • Open heart or cancer surgery – permanently deferred
  • Symptom of or heart disease – permanently deferred
  • Convulsions, epilepsy or Schizophrenia – permanently deferred
  • Anxiety, mood disorders and migraines – temporarily deferred
  • Chronic liver disease/ liver failure – permanently deferred
  • In instances of infectious diseases like measles, typhoid, tuberculosis – temporarily deferred

If you clear the requirements for the eligibility and pass the assessment, you can proceed and donate blood.