Donor self-test

      Can you donate blood, plasma or platelets? Take the test here!

      May I give?

      How do I quickly find out if I can donate?

      Complete the online donor self-test above. This will tell you immediately whether you meet the main criteria for being allowed to donate blood, plasma or platelets. Is the result positive? Make your appointment right away. Do you still have questions? Then be sure to read on to this page.

      Do you have a cold or are you (have you been) sick?

      • Did you recently experience one or more of the following complaints:
        • fever/muscle ache/flu/feeling unwell;
        • respiratory complaints such as runny nose/coughing/snotching/throat pain/bronchitis;
        • gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea/vomiting;
        • urinary tract infection;
        • Or a vaginal yeast infection?

      Then we ask you to wait at least 2 weeks before donating. Counting from the moment you were fully recovered: medication-free and symptom-free.

      • Do you have very mild symptoms such as a watery nose or a tickling cough (cough without mucus) that is not due to an infectious cause and do you feel fine?

      Then you may come and donate. Provided, however, that there was no recent close contact with someone with a confirmed corona diagnosis or that you yourself do not exhibit any other mild symptoms that may have corona infection as a possible underlying cause (for example, loss of smell or taste).

      • Did you yourself have a confirmed corona diagnosis?

      Then we ask you to wait at least 2 weeks before donating. Counting from the moment you were fully recovered: medication-free and symptom-free. Or if you were symptom-free: count from the day of your positive test. Although there are no indications that the virus can be transmitted through blood, we take this measure for safety's sake. If you have long-standing but limited symptoms such as loss of smell and/or taste, you will be allowed to donate only after complete recovery or after submitting a negative PCR test. If you have severe symptoms that last longer, such as persistent shortness of breath, you will not be eligible as a donor.

      Were you recently in contact with someone who was ill (e.g., fever, flu, corona, gastrointestinal symptoms)?

      Are you completely symptom-free yourself? Then you can just come and donate blood, plasma or platelets!

      Do you still get sick or develop a fever shortly after your donation? Be sure to let us know.

      What in the event of a tick bite?

      If the tick was removed within 24 hours and no symptoms occurred and you received no treatment, then you can just give blood or plasma or platelets. Without delay.

      If the tick was not removed within 24 hours (regardless of symptoms or treatment), wait 1 month to donate.

      If you had symptoms of and/or treatment for Lyme disease, wait 4 weeks before giving blood or plasma or platelets. To be counted from the disappearance of symptoms AND the cessation of treatment.

      Do you have an inherited form of iron-stacking disease (hemochromatosis)?

      Are you otherwise healthy? Then you can donate blood, plasma and platelets, provided you get a certificate from your treating physician every year confirming that:

      • you are in the maintenance phase of treatment and your ferritin (iron reserve) levels are within the reference values;
      • you need at most 1 vein every 2 months;
      • You do not exhibit organ damage due to hemochromatosis.

      Do you have hemochromatosis, meet those 3 criteria and want to donate? Then we recommend that you first complete the donor self-test which you can find above. Then download the cover letter with the medical certificate to be completed and signed by your doctor. Finally, bring the attestation, together with the results of a recent (less than 1 month old attestation) laboratory test for ferritin (your iron reserve), to the blood collection. There you give it to the doctor.

       Good to remember:

      • The certificate must be renewed annually.
      • As a hemochromatosis patient, you can donate blood up to 6 times a year. With at least 2 months time between 2 blood donations.
      • As a hemochromatosis patient, you may also donate plasma or platelets. Keep in mind that after a plasma or platelet donation, you must wait 14 days before you can donate blood again.

      Do you have a serious medical condition or infection?

      Are you HIV-positive or have AIDS?

      • Then you should never donate. Not even if you take anti-viral therapy (ART: antiretroviral therapy) and have an undetectable viral load. See also the answer about drugs and vaccination.

      Have you ever experienced or tested positive for hepatitis B, C or syphilis ?

      • Then you may never donate.

      In case of serious illness (e.g. ever had cancer) or suffering from cardiovascular disease? Then it is best to contact our donor doctors first (during office hours):

      Did you go abroad in the past few months?

          Are age, height and weight also criteria?

          • Yes. You can donate from the age of 18. And you must be younger than 66 to become a donor. After age 66, you may continue to donate if you have given blood, plasma or platelets before. And that no longer than 3 years ago. Furthermore, you must have approval from the doctor on blood collection.
          • Regarding weight: you must weigh at least 50 kg and your height is also a determining factor. Calculate above in our donor self-test if you qualify.

          Are you taking any medications? Did you receive a vaccination recently?

          If you are taking medication or have just been vaccinated, the medication or vaccine itself is usually not an obstacle to donating. Sometimes, however, the underlying reason - the reason why you received that medication or vaccine - is a reason for delay.

          View the list of medications subject to deferral

          You cannot temporarily donate blood, plasma or platelets if you have received any of the following vaccines:

          • Live vaccines: you wait 1 month to donate.
          • Hepatitis B vaccine: you wait 2 weeks to donate.
          • Corona vaccine: you may donate from the 2nd day after vaccination, unless you experience general symptoms (such as abnormal fatigue, fever, generalized muscle pain), in which case you should wait to donate until 1 week after the symptoms disappear.
          • Study vaccine: you wait 4 weeks to donate.

          Did you undergo surgery, keyhole surgery, gastric bypass or transfusion?

          Was it keyhole surgery or keyhole examination (endoscopy)?

          • Then wait 2 months to donate once the doctor has done the examination with rigid scope.
          • Or 4 months if it was with flexible scope.

          Was it an ordinary operation?

          • Then you wait 2 months for minor procedures.
          • Or 4 months for major procedures.
          • If the procedure was performed under local anesthesia and all wounds have healed, a 2-week delay is usually sufficient.

          Did you undergo gastric bypass?

          • Then you wait 4 months. And then you're only allowed to donate plasma, no more blood.

          Have you had a transfusion?

          • Then you wait 4 months to donate.

          Still questions or doubts whether you may donate in your (medical) situation? Feel free to contact our medical secretariat.

          Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?

          Only 6 months after the end of your pregnancy are you allowed to donate blood, plasma or platelets again. If you are still breastfeeding after those 6 months, this does not constitute an objection to donating.

          What sexual situations, if any, are applicable?

          You may not donate blood, plasma or platelets for 4 months:

          You should not donate blood, plasma or platelets for 12 months after the end of these high-risk situations:

          • Your sexual partner is HIV-positive or has AIDS.
          • Your sexual partner has hepatitis B or hepatitis C (to be discussed with doctor).
          • Your sexual partner once injected drugs.
          • You have had a high-risk sexual contact and want to know if you are infected.
          • You or your sexual partner have multiple sexual partners. Or you or your partner participate in group sex.
          • Your sexual partner is from a country where AIDS and/or hepatitis is common (to be discussed with doctor).
          • You received money or goods in exchange for sex.
          • Your sexual partner engages in prostitution.
          • You or your sexual partner paid for sex.

          Even if you take preventive medication to prevent HIV infection, called PEP or PrEP (post-exposure or pre-exposure prophylaxis), the deferral periods still apply. See also the info on medications and vaccines.

          You should not donate blood or platelets for 28 days:

          • You had sexual contact with a man diagnosed with ZIKA infection in the 3 months prior to the contact.
          • You had sexual contact with a woman diagnosed with ZIKA infection in the 8 weeks prior to the contact.
          • Giving plasma is allowed in these situations. 

          Did you undergo a needle treatment? Did you recently have a tattoo, piercing or permanent makeup done?

          What about a tattoo, piercing or permanent makeup?

          • Then wait 4 months to donate. Book your appointment ahead of time in 4 months? You can do that here. See you then at the blood collection!

          What about acupuncture, dry needling, myofascial therapy or any other therapeutic needling treatment?

          • Performed by a doctor? Then you don't have to wait and may donate again immediately.
          • Not performed by a physician? Then you may donate again immediately upon presentation of a valid attestation / proof of certification. You can find such a certificate here (.pdf). Without a certificate, you must wait 4 months to donate. Want to book your appointment in 4 months? You can do so here. See you then at the blood collection!

          Dental visit, needle stick injury, cut, bite wound or drug use?

          Have you been to the dentist? Depending on what the dentist did, you may have to wait a while before you can register as a donor.

          • To have tooth filled or crown placed: 1 day wait.
          • Tartar care, root canal treatment, tooth pulling (and wound completely healed): 7-day wait.
          • Placing a dental implant under local anesthesia: 14-day wait.
          • Ordinary checkup without tartar removal: no need to wait, you may donate right away.

          Have you had a puncture, cut, splash or bite accident(s)? If you have been in contact with human blood (or other bodily fluids such as saliva or amniotic fluid) on skin or mucous membranes that are not intact with you, wait 4 months before donating. Examples of such situations:

          • With a sharp object or needle that may have had blood on it from another person, you injured yourself.
          • You were bitten by someone.
          • You are a nurse and you pricked yourself with a needle you just used to treat a patient.
          • As a medical professional, you have gotten splashes in the eye during surgery.

          Even if you received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment for HIV prevention after such incidental contact, the 4-month postponement period still applies. Already booking your appointment in 4 months? You can do so here. See you then at the blood collection!

          Have you ever injected drugs?

          • Then may never give blood.

          Did you snort drugs?

          • Then you wait 4 months to donate.

          Are you transgender?

          Being transgender is not a reason to be excluded as a donor. Those undergoing hormonal treatment do have to wait three months after its initiation to be allowed to donate blood, plasma or platelets. In addition, the deferral periods that apply to any donor apply: a temporary deferral of 2 weeks to 4 months for surgical procedures, and a deferral of 4 to 12 months, depending on the risk of HIV and other STIs from sexual contact.

          Hormonal treatment: three-month delay after startup

          We ask transgender persons undergoing hormonal treatment as part of a medical transition to wait three months before donating after this treatment started. This is because hormonal treatment can affect blood values such as hemoglobin. After a period of 3 months, we are sure that blood values, especially hemoglobin levels, have been adjusted to the values of the intended gender. Hemoglobin values are important to prevent anemia in donors. For other transgender individuals (e.g., those who have been under hormonal therapy for some time or not at all), no delay is necessary.

          Operations or sexual risk behavior: everyone equal before the law

          For anyone undergoing surgical procedures, the deferral periods are the same: depending on the procedure, deferrals range from 2 weeks to 4 months. The surgeries that some transgender individuals undergo as part of a medical transition are no exception.

          The same applies to the risk of blood-borne diseases through sexual contact: like other donors, transgender people will be subject to a deferral of at least 4 months after sexual contact with a new partner. For sexual contact with someone who has a higher risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, such as swingers, Belgian legislation stipulates a deferral of 1 year after the last high-risk contact. This rule applies to all donors and we also follow it for transgender people.

          Safety for both the donor and the patient

          Since we were able to adapt our blood bank informatics system, transgender individuals can donate blood, plasma or platelets in a way that is safe for themselves as well as for the patient receiving their blood product. For the donor himself, important factors include the hemoglobin level (to protect the donor from anemia) and the safe donation volume as a percentage of the total blood volume. The criteria for this are established by law and differ for men and women. For the patient receiving the blood product, there is a risk of transfusion reactions that are gender-specific. Therefore, it remains important to know the donor's (original) birth sex and any change in it. Hence we ask donors in the medical questionnaire, "has your current sex changed from your sex registered at birth?". Of course, that info (like all other answers to the medical questionnaire and the info discussed with the doctor) is kept confidential.

          Known donor? Attention!

          When you donate, you are registered using your eID. When your legal gender registration changes, your national registry number also changes, creating a new donor identity at the time this new eID is read in. For the safety of the blood chain, it is crucial that we can continue to track all blood products a donor ever gave and the historical lab results of that same donor.

          The procedure to merge donor identities and be sure that it is about the same person must therefore be conclusive. For this reason, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders asks known donors to submit a copy of the civil registry after a change of legal sex registration with their next donation, showing the old and new national registry numbers. This can be prepared and delivered by the civil registrars of the current place of residence. In this way we can continue to guarantee the traceability of the donor as well as the safety of the blood collected. Such a transcript is only necessary if you have ever donated blood, plasma or platelets at Belgian Red Cross-Flanders.

          Are you from or have you lived in a country other than Belgium?

          • If you come from a country where AIDS or hepatitis is common, you can donate starting 1 year after leaving the high-risk area.
          • If you come from a malaria-prone country, blood or platelet donation is possible at the earliest 3 years after leaving the malaria risk area. Meanwhile, you can already donate plasma, after a deferral period of up to 1 year.
          • If you have resided in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands for more than 6 months all together during the period 1980-1996, you are unfortunately not eligible to donate blood, plasma or platelets.

          Questions or doubts in your situation? Please contact our medical secretariat:

          Have you been in contact with a sick person?

          Were you not sick yourself, but were you in close contact with someone who is sick (e.g., a roommate)?

          • Then you can just come and donate blood, plasma or platelets!
          • Do you still get sick or develop a fever shortly after your donation? Be sure to let us know.

          Did you come in contact with someone with a confirmed corona diagnosis, but have no complaint yourself?

          • Even then you may just come and donate!
          • Do you still get sick or develop a fever shortly after your donation? Be sure to let us know.