Common Questions About Blood Answered.
If you have had symptoms of Coronavirus you must wait 28 days from their resolution before you can donate. If you have tested positive but not had any symptoms, you must instead wait 28 days from the date of your last positive test.
If you have tested negative but had Coronavirus symptoms you must wait 14 days from the resolution of your symptoms.
Before you donate, you must be back to normal activities, free of fever and respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fatigue or other ongoing symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, numbness or pins and needles.
Some individuals may have a cough, or reduced sense of smell or taste, for some weeks after resolution of their infection but this won’t stop you donating if you are otherwise well.
National restrictions may have lifted, but to make donating as safe as possible for everyone, NHS Blood has kept a few changes at their centres. Please wait 48 hours from your vaccine before donating (you can attend on the 3rd day from the date of your vaccine).
Whether you can donate will depend on the condition for which you are being treated and the medication you are receiving.
If you are feeling under the weather, please wait until you feel better before you give blood.
It is important you do not have any infection at the time of donating.
You must be healed and recovered from any infection for at least 14 days before you give blood.
Use the NHS Blood and Transplant health & eligibility section to find out more.
It depends. If you have had a heart attack or stroke, have heart failure or take heart medications – such as anti-clotting drugs - you are sadly not able to donate blood. If you have had heart bypass surgery or other heart surgery for a heart defect that you were not born with, you cannot give blood.
NHS Blood and Transplant will need to have more information to know if you can give blood. It will depend on your specific heart condition.
NHS Blood and Transplant advice depends on the type of cancer.
Please search for the relevant cancer in their health & eligibility section on their website.
If you have had a blood transfusion or blood products anytime since 01 January 1980, you are not able to give blood.
If you have received your own blood (autologous transfusion) you maybe able to still become a blood donor.
Please follow NHS Blood and Transplant advice about giving blood after a transfusion.
If you have had an organ or tissue transplant, you are not able to donate blood.
This is for your safety and the safety of patients that receive your blood.
Yes, you can donate blood if you have high or low blood pressure. Let staff know any medication you are on before the start of your session. However, if you have low blood pressure and feel faint or dizzy, you will not be able to give blood.
During your pregnancy, you are not able to give blood. If you had a blood transfusion during your pregnancy or at delivery then you will not be able to become a blood donor.
Please follow NHS Blood and Transplant advice about giving blood during and after pregnancy.
You have to wait for four months after having a tattoo before you can give blood. This includes semi-permanent make-up and microblading and the wait is the same for body piercings and acupuncture. This rule is in place to preserve the safety of patients who receive donated blood.
Smoking does not stop you from being able to donate. However, all donor centres operate a “no-smoking” policy.
In England, the National Health Service (NHS) does not test for THC in donated blood and does not reject donors on the basis of current usage.
Men who have sex with men and who have had the same partner for 3 months or more and meet their other eligibility criteria are able to give blood.
- a new partner in the last three months
- more than one partner in the last three months
- NHS Blood and Transplant assess your eligibility to give blood based solely on your own individual experiences.
Travel to some parts of the world can affect your immediate ability to donate blood.
Search for your destination in the NHS Blood and Transplant travel section to see if you can donate now or if you have to wait for a period of time.
Common Questions about Stem Cell Donation Answered.
You can join the UK Stem Cell Register with ACLT in two ways:
If in person at an ACLT registration drive or at the ACLT offices, you can join the register by completing a short form and providing three cheek swabs.
ACLT works with three stem cell registries, Anthony Nolan, British Bone Marrow Registry and DKMS, these organisations have different age restrictions for new sign ups.
- Anthony Nolan: if you are aged between 16 and 30 you can join this register by providing cheek swabs.
- British Bone Marrow Registry: if you are aged between 17 and 40 and willing to donate blood for transfusion purposes.
- DKMS: if you are aged between 17 and 55 you can join this register by providing cheek swabs.
Once people who are aged between 16-55 sign up to the stem cell registry, they will stay on the register until their 61st birthday. During your time on the register, should you be found to be a match for a patient in need, you will be contacted in order to start the process to donate.
ACLT register anyone in good health between the ages of 16-55 to the UK Stem Cell Register.
To find out more visit our Stem Cell donation page.
Someone in need of a transplant is most likely to find a match from a person with a similar genetic history. That often means someone from the same ethnic background.
When ACLT launched in 1996, Daniel De-Gale; the inspiration behind why ACLT was founded, alongside his parents were told Daniel he had a 1 in 250,000 chance of finding a matched unrelated donor, because there were not enough Black people on the register at the time. Had Daniel been White British, he would have had a 1 in 4 chance of finding the best possible match.
Today, there are over 2.1 million people on the UK Stem Cell Register, however, only 46,019 are Black. This means for a Black blood cancer patient who needs a lifesaving stem cell transplant, they only have a 37% chance of finding the best possible match, whilst their white counterparts have a 72% chance.
People from minority ethnic backgrounds often have rarer tissue types which makes it harder to find matching donors. This is why we focus on recruiting donors who are of African Caribbean backgrounds, so they are better represented on the register.
All samples ACLT collect will be sent back to the relevant registry, in this case Anthony Nolan or DKMS, so they can find out your tissue type and add your details to their individual registers (which form part of the single UK Stem Cell register, known as the Aligned Registry). From that point on, every time someone needs a transplant, the individual registries and the aligned registries carry out a search, to compare potential matches to the patients in need.
No. ACLT are a charity who recruit potential lifesavers onto the UK donor registers by partnering with Anthony Nolan, DKMS and NHS Blood and Transplant.
Anthony Nolan, The British Bone Marrow Register (operated by NHS Blood & Transplant), The Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (operated by the Welsh Blood Service) and DKMS UK all add donors to the single UK registry.
It’s the blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord after a woman has given birth.
Cord blood contains lots of stem cells, which can be used in lifesaving transplants and/or cell therapy for people with blood cancers and disorders.
Anthony Nolan collects cord blood in five hospitals in London, Manchester, Leicester, whilst NHS Blood and Transplant collect in three hospitals in London and Luton.
Collection only happens after the birth, when the baby is safely delivered. It’s totally risk-free for mothers and newborns.
For patients who require a lifesaving stem cell transplant, they can receive stem cells through stem cell (bone marrow) donation, in addition to cord blood taken from the umbilical cord too.
There are many advantages to cord blood transplants such as cord blood being immediately available, due to it being banked at the Anthony Nolan Therapy Centre in Nottingham. This is beneficial as the process for getting stem cell donations from adults is a much longer process.
Also, donors and recipients don’t need to be an exact match, as the stem cells in cord blood aren’t so mature and can develop to suit their recipient. That means it’s easier to find matches.
No. Unfortunately, not all hospital in the UK collects cord blood, however, below you can find a list of the ones that do:
- King’s College Hospital, London
- University College Hospital, London
- St George’s Hospital, London
Outside of London
- Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Luton
- Saint Mary’s Hpspital, Oxford Road, Manchester
- Saint Mary’s Hospital, Wythenshawe
- Leicester Royal Infirmary
- Leicester General Hospital
To register your interest to donate your umbilical cord, please click here
Common Living Kidney Donation Questions Answered
In recent years, a growing number of people have offered one of their kidneys anonymously to someone on the National Transplant waiting List. A living person who donates one of their kidneys to someone they do not already know is called a non-directed altruistic (someone you don't know) kidney donor.
There are currently thousands of people in the UK in need of a kidney transplant. Most of us can live perfectly well with one kidney, and yet nearly all of us have two.
Donating a kidney to someone specific with whom you have no previous existing relationship is called directed altruistic donation. The likelihood of being compatible with someone whom you identify in this way is rare but may be possible. You should contact the potential recipient’s transplant centre for advice and further information but if you do not know where the recipient is being cared for, the living donor team in your closest transplant centre will be able to advise you.
Common Organ Donation (Deceased)
The NHS Organ Donor Register is a confidential record of people's organ donation decisions. It records your choice whether to become an organ donor or not when you die.
If you die in circumstances in which organ donation is possible, a specialist nurse will check the NHS Organ Donor Register to see if you had recorded a decision about organ donation and discuss this with your family.
If you had recorded a decision to become an organ donor, they will also be able to see whether you said that you would like NHS staff to discuss your faith or beliefs with your family before organ donation goes ahead.
Your family will always be approached if organ or tissue donation is a possibility, and your faith, beliefs and culture will always be respected. If you had already made a decision about donation and shared this with your family, they would be expected to support your decision.
However, they can overturn your decision if they are not sure what you want. Sharing your decision with your family will give them the certainty they need, and will make it easier for them to support your choice.
All adults in England are now considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. This is commonly referred to as an 'opt out' system. You may also hear it referred to as 'Max and Keira's Law'.
Having your decision recorded on the NHS Organ Donor Register helps NHS specialist nurses to quickly understand what you want to happen and enables them to discuss this with your family.
If you do not want to donate your organs, you should record this on the Register. Without a recorded decision, if you are not in one of the excluded groups, in England and Wales it will be considered that you agree to donate your organs when you die.
Anyone living in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man can register a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, there is no age limit, and parents can register their children.
Having an illness or medical condition doesn't stop you from registering your organ donation decision, and specialist healthcare professionals decide in each individual case whether organs and tissue are suitable for donation.
Although our charity’s journey started with the subject of stem cell donation, from the moment ACLT was founded in 1996, we began to learn about the huge disparity regarding the number of people of African, Caribbean and mixed-race heritage on the NHS Organ Donor Register. In 2010, we added raising awareness on organ donation and registering potential organ donors as one of our key missions, under our official role as a stakeholder for NHS Blood and Transplant.
Sickle Cell Donation Queries
Sickle Cell Anaemia is an inherited blood disorder which causes misshapen red blood cells that can get caught in blood vessels, blocking the blood flow. This can lead to extreme pain (referred to as a sickle cell crisis) and life-threatening infections.
People who have just one of the genes that cause sickle cell are referred to as having ‘sickle cell trait’. Those with sickle cell trait carry the condition (and can pass it on to their children) but do not suffer from sickle cell disorder itself.
In the UK, most people who have sickle cell trait have an African or Caribbean family background. Having sickle cell trait does not prevent carriers from becoming blood donors.
Many people with sickle cell need blood transfusions. Blood transfusions help to reduce and prevent a severe crisis, but to get the best treatment, patients need blood from a donor of the same ethnicity.
Children and adults with sickle cell disease are supported by a team of different healthcare professionals working together at a specialist sickle cell centre.
Your healthcare team will help you learn more about sickle cell disease, and work with you to come up with an individual care plan that takes into account all your needs and health concerns
Ro is a blood subtype found most often in people of African or Caribbean descent, so it is also more common in people with sickle cell disease. This matters because close matching of blood types is important for patients receiving regular transfusions.
The demand for Ro is on the rise but only around two per cent of donors have this rare subtype, so meeting the demand can be difficult.
If you have the Ro subtype, you are one of very few donors. Please give blood as regularly as you can. There is also an increased likelihood that members of your immediate family have this rare subtype too. Please encourage them to give blood.
The Ro subtype is more than 10 times as common in individuals from African Caribbean ethnic backgrounds than in individuals from Northern European backgrounds.
This is why ACLT are asking for more black and mixed race people to step forward and become a regular blood donor.
Financial donations are crucial to the work we do at ACLT; without the help of our supporters, we wouldn’t be able to operate.
Even if you can only give a little, you are making a big difference.
Regular donations help ACLT register more potential donors faster, providing us with the opportunity to save more lives. They can be made through direct debit (for the amount you choose), or Give As You Earn.
Give As You Earn (also known as Payroll Giving or workplace giving) allows anyone who pays UK income tax to give directly from their salary. The donation is taken before tax, meaning a monthly donation of £10 only costs you £8. These donations are hugely valuable to us as they mean we can budget and plan effectively.
Set up a Direct Debit
Set up Give As You Earn
These are simple to make, and can be completed online for an amount you choose.
If you are a UK taxpayer you can GIFT AID your donation, this means that for every £1 you donate to ACLT we will receive £1.25 in total, without costing you any extra.