Donation Experience

Temporary deferrals and plasma donation: everything you need to know

Donation Experience

Temporary deferrals and plasma donation: everything you need to know

April 10, 2024

Plasma donation plays a crucial role in providing life-saving medical treatments for a variety of conditions. That’s why donating is an important and generous act. As a donor or an aspiring one, you may have heard about temporary deferrals, a necessary aspect of the donation process that ensures your health and safety as well as the one of your plasma recipient. Most deferrals are temporary. So don’t worry if you have been deferred; you will soon be able to donate again!

6 common reasons for temporary deferral


1. Recent illness

If you have recently been ill or are currently experiencing symptoms of illness (cold, flu, COVID-19, sore throat, for example), you may be temporarily deferred. This precaution prevents the spread of infection and ensures both your well-being and the one of the recipients of your plasma donation. That’s why it’s important to refrain from donating until you’ve fully recovered.


2. Tattoos

If you got a tattoo within the last 3-6 months, you may be ineligible to donate plasma. The waiting period typically depends on how long it takes for the tattoo to heal fully. The reason behind this deferral is that needles, especially if unclean, can carry bloodborne illnesses that may not be immediately detectable when your blood gets tested.


3. Medication, surgery, and medical procedure

If you are on medication but still want to donate plasma, consult the medical staff at your center. Certain medications, such as antibiotics or antidepressants, and some vaccines may not be compatible with the donation process, necessitating a temporary suspension. Additionally, some pain medications can affect platelet counts; however, you can donate plasma if you stop taking them 48 hours prior to your appointment. If you’ve recently undergone surgery or specific medical procedures, including dental work, you may be temporarily deferred to allow time for your recovery and to ensure your overall well-being before you resume donation activities.

4. Anemia and iron levels 

If the hemoglobin test reveals that your hemoglobin level is lower than normal, it means you have a low red blood cell count. Anemia could therefore be a reason for temporary exclusion from donation. If you are a woman, your hemoglobin level must be at least 12.5 g/dL; for men, the minimum level is 13.0 g/dL. Below these values, you will not be able to donate. Low iron levels can also lead to a temporary deferral because insufficient levels may impact your well-being.

5. Pregnancy or recent childbirth

Being pregnant or having recently given birth can be another reason for your temporary deferral. Don’t worry! It’s a temporary condition that allows you time for recovery and protects your health and the one of your newborn.

6. Travels to high-risk areas

Have you recently traveled to regions with a high prevalence of infectious diseases (particularly those transmitted through blood)? Talk with your donation center because that could lead to a temporary deferral. 

You may be ineligible to donate plasma with a new tatoo

Temporary deferrals are a fundamental aspect of the plasma donation process, reflecting the commitment of donation centers to maintain high standards of safety and quality. As donors generously contribute to the well-being of others, understanding and respecting temporary deferrals contributes to the overall success of plasma donation programs. By working with donation centers and following established guidelines, you play a vital role in advancing medical treatments and improving the lives of individuals around the world.


Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff are always there to answer all your questions in person.