Donating Blood

Just a question… Can diabetic donate blood? If so, what are the restrictions? Just wondering. Thanks.


It depends! Great answer, huh?

Well, if you are on regular oral meds and not having a low, the Milwaukee County Blood Center would take it (as of a few years back). BUT, if you are on insulin … no. They don’t want to upset your blood balances.

I know, what a rip! I have A negative plus, the third most rare type. Now I can’t even GIVE my blood away!!

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

Diabetics can donate blood. The donors blood might have higher sugar levels whereas the reciever who does not have diabetes can produce a sufficient amount of insulin to bring down the blood sugar levels. During storage the sugar in the blood gets oxidized and the levels come down. diabetes is not a comminucable Disease.Hence Diabetics can donate blood. The general rule of thumb is that the diabetes has to be under good control. The donor has to be healthy and controlled.


Ahhh, but the local attitude is/was (?) not upsetting the blood balance for the diabetic. Of course, this was a few years back when I tried to donate and now I wonder if they’ve reversed themselves again. (Years and years ago, I was told no to donating on insulin.) Of course, what is medical practice if not reversible?

Anyone from Milwaukee area with the knowledge to set me straight (or crooked)?

Lois La Rose

In Arizona, people with diabetes are allowed to donate blood if their blood glucose levels are well controlled. Even insulin dependent diabetics may donate if they have never used beef or pork insulin because of the risks of transmitting diseases (that have nothing to do with diabetes). Unfortunately, I have had diabetes long enough that I have used those insulins. To confirm what the rules are in your area, check with the American Red Cross.

Chadd- thanks for asking this question. I wasn’t sure if I could give blood or not…learned something new today.

In Canada if you are treated with insulin you are not eligeable to donate blood. The rationale is that it may cause disrupt BG control and somehow cause hypoglycemia on your way home from the blood clinic. Weird but possibly something to worry about.

In Canada : I concur with Anthony …a person with diabetes : NO when using insulin .I googled the question just now . I donated blood 34 times till I was diagnosed in 1983 ( type 1 ) and was told then ; NO …somehow I think it makes sense today and then .

Yes, diabetics can donate blood, regardless of type. But as for the restrictions? Those vary by location.

I would contact the place where you intend to make the donation and find out what restrictions they have about how your diabetes is controlled, what medications you use, and what your blood sugar levels have been.

I found this article I thought was interesting by a guy who gives every 8 weeks.

I was told that as long as you tell the blood bank what type of medications you are on and you have not had any extreme highs or lows you can donate.

In the U.S., FDA regulates the collection, processng and distribution of blood and blood products. They have no restrictions prohibiting the acceptance of blood from insulin dependant diabetics who are healthy enough to donate. Individual State laws may vary but I’m unaware of any that conflict with FDA’s. So please, if you are healthy otherwise, give blood. Just make sure to hydrate before giving and check your sugars before and after. I’m in the “4 gallon” club and I’ve been diabetic for most of that time and have never had a problem.

I donated blood years back when I was in highschool, like 7-8 years ago and was never told I couldn’t. I have been on insulin now for 17 years 18 years this october. No one there said a thing to me as long as I was in the weight reange they allowed and my iron wasnt low, just like everyone else who donated.

I’ve read somewhere diabetic could donate blood ad long as they never used bovive/porcine insuline since it could bring “germs/virus” into the blood, but synthetic insulin is safe.