Haemochromatosis and blood donation

Some people with haemochromatosis, a condition that causes iron to build up in the body, may be able to donate blood as part of their regular treatment.

Genetic haemochromatosis is one of the most common genetic disorders, affecting around 1 in 150 people in England.

If left untreated it can damage organs and joints.

How to treat haemochromatosis

Having blood removed regularly is the best treatment.

This happens in phases:

  • Induction phase – this is when iron levels are very high, patients may need blood taken as often as once a week
  • Maintenance phase – when iron levels have lowered and treatment becomes less frequent

Once removed, the blood is usually thrown away.

Can I donate blood with genetic haemochromatosis?

You can donate blood with genetic haemochromatosis if you:

  • are nearing the end of your induction phase or are in the maintenance phase
  • are having your iron levels regularly monitored by your GP or specialist team
  • are generally fit and well
  • have no organ damage
  • meet all of our other criteria for donating

Register to donate blood

If you meet the criteria above, please call our team on 0300 123 23 23 and we will be able to take you through the process and discuss whether blood donation is right for you.

We suggest that you contact us once you have been told that donating every six weeks or more will be suitable for you.

Important information

Please remember, this is just a donation service. Iron monitoring and advice on the frequency of donation would still be carried out by your own doctor.

Why we need blood

Giving blood saves lives.

It can be used as a lifeline in emergencies and for people who need long term treatments.

The blood and its components are used to treat patients with many different medical conditions, such as anaemia, cancer, blood disorders and those having surgery.

People with Haemochromatosis are important members of our blood donor community and we are grateful for the life-saving gift of blood that people with the condition donate on a regular basis.

Find out more about how blood donation helps.