Who can donate to this cause?

The universal access to safe blood is the lifeline for the healthcare system of any nation. As South Africans, we can all be proud of our dedicated and selfless voluntary donors who regularly donate blood to save lives of thousands of our people every year.

Minimum Requirements to be a Blood Donor:

  • You are between the ages of 16 and 75 years old, for first time donors.
  • You weigh a minimum of 50 kgs (and platelets a minimum of 55 kgs)
  • You are in good health.
  • You lead a low risk lifestyle.
  • You consider your blood safe for transfusion.
  • You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.
  • You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and platelets in the last 14 days.)
  • Your pulse is between 50-100 regular beats per minute.
  • Your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) (180/100mmHg) and above 100 systolic (first number) and above 60 diastolic  (second number) (100/60mmHg).
  • Your haemoglobin level is 12.5 g/dL or above.

Our screening test ensures that your blood pressure and haemoglobin levels are within a safe range for you to donate.




Please ask for more information if:

  • You have had surgery in the last 6 months or are due for an operation within the next 6 weeks.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby.
  • You are on medication such as antibiotics
  • You are from, or have travelled to, a malaria area.
  • You have had cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, a bleeding disorder or any other chronic medical condition.
  • You are involved in a “hazardous” occupation or sport e.g. operating heavy machinery, flying a plane, scuba diving, working at heights etc.

If you are deferred please note that we do so in the best interest of your health as well as the safety of the blood being donated.

What is high risk exposure?

  • Having sex with, or working as, a commercial sex worker.
  • Having sex with multiple sexual partners.
  • Having sex with someone who has multiple sexual partners.
  • Injecting yourself with drugs, or being injected by someone other than your doctor or health care worker.
  • Having sex with a sex worker or anyone taking money, goods or favours in exchange for sex.

Please refrain from donating blood if:

  • You have tested positive for HIV.
  • There is any chance that you may have been exposed to HIV/ AIDS; or if you are donating blood only to be tested for HIV/AIDS.
  • You are being treated for a sexually transmitted infection (STI).


Every infectious disease has a window period.

The “window period” is the time from when someone becomes infected to the time our tests are able to detect such an infection.  When a person is infected with HIV or other viruses, the virus remains undetectable for some time in the blood.  Although a person’s test result would be negative during this time, the virus is present in the blood and can be passed on to a patient through a blood transfusion.

This is why we ask people who may have been involved in risky behaviour to refrain from donating for a specific period after high risk exposure.

If, after you have donated, you have doubts about the safety of your blood, please contact your donor centre, call our toll free number 0800 119 031 or send an email to

SANBS strives to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply and all our procedures are in place in order to achieve this goal. This assures that our blood is amongst the safest in the world, something we are very proud of.

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