Although most people are potentially able to give blood, some are not.
There are a variety of reasons why we might ask you not to give blood, but they fall into two main
categories. Firstly, if evidence suggests that donating blood could potentially harm you, then to
protect your safety we would ask you not to donate. Secondly, if evidence suggests that your donation
could potentially harm the patient receiving it, then we would ask you not to donate.
This would include the situation where a specific behaviour may have put you at a higher risk of an infection which could be transmitted to a patient by blood.
Many of the rules implemented in the UK on who can give blood are a requirement of European law. However, there are a number of expert committees that regularly review the evidence relating to exclusions and deferrals from blood donation. Policies which specifically relate to the safety of blood for patients are recommended to the Government by the independent advisory committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO). A key part of their work is to ensure that the policies applied by the UK Blood Services are based on the best available scientific evidence.
If you are not able to give blood we know this can be disappointing. However, we hope you will understand that our overriding responsibility is to ensure the safety of donors and the safety of blood for patients.
For information on the work of the advisory committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO), including the review process for donor selection policies, visit: www.gov.uk/government/policy-advisory-groups/advisory-committee-on-the-safety-of-blood-tissues-and-organs
For more information on why men who have had sex with men in the past 12 months are not able to donate please visit the FAQs.
For information from the Terrence Higgins Trust on the 12 month fixed period deferral of men who have sex with men from blood donation, visit the Terrence Higgins Trust website
Each blood donation can help as many as 3 people
100 donations equates to
47 litres of blood
We collect around 1,700,000 blood donations each year
B- Blood is rare
Only 2% of our donors are B-
9% of donors live in
10% of donors are donating for the first time
Find out what could affect your ability to give blood