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How much blood is drawn during a blood donation?

In principle, no more than 15% of an individual’s total blood volume (TBV) should be collected. TBV depends on weight, height and gender.

At the start of the donation, 30ml is collected in the diversion pouch. This pouch serves to minimise the risk of contamination of the blood collected from skin micro-organisms. Subsequently, approximately 475 mL of blood is collected during a blood donation. Slightly less volume (450mL) is collected from low-TBV donors so as not to exceed the 15% TBV collected. 

How long does it take for my body to replace the blood loss after a donation?
Your body will replace the liquid part of the donation within 24 hours when there is adequate fluid intake. Red cells need a few weeks for complete replacement. Donors are advised to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in iron to replenish iron stores. 
How long after donating blood should a donor avoid strenuous activity?
Donors should avoid strenuous activity for the day of donation. Donors are also advised to avoid weight lifting and scuba diving for 3 days. 
How old should I be to donate blood?
To donate blood one has to be 18 years old. New donors above the age of 65 are not accepted. However, regular donors are allowed to donate blood until their 70th  birthday, if one has donated blood at least once during the previous year.  17 years are allowed to donate with parents/guardians written consent​.  No other consent forms other than the official NBTS Consent Form are accepted. 

Is there a weight limit? 
The minimum required weight is 50kg.
In the case of female donors weighing between 50kg and 65kg, the minimum required weight is calculated according to the donor's height to ensure that there is sufficient total blood volume.
I am a regular blood donor and I would like to continue giving blood regularly. Would it be safe for me to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic?
All necessary measures to ensure safety for the donor and staff are in place. These include temperature measurement at the entry point, use of hand sanitisers, use of masks/visors and social distancing. For further queries with regards to blood donation during Covid-19, kindly click here.​

May I give blood after having the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you have received the COVID-19 vaccine you have to leave two days from vaccination before giving blood.  Should you develop mild symptoms post-vaccination, kindly return for blood donation seven days from symptom cessation. 

Following blood donation, seven days should also elapse before receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. ​

Can I get HIV from donating blood?
No. You cannot get HIV or any other disease by giving blood. The materials used for your donation are new, sterile and disposable and are for one-time use only.
Can persons who suffer from high blood pressure donate blood?
Persons who are receiving oral medication to control high blood pressure are advised to contact the NBTS on 79307307 or freephone 80074313 to discuss the matter with our Medical Officers, who will then decide on the eligibility of the donor. Some people taking blood pressure medication may be eligible for donation; however, these cases are discussed on an individual basis when the donor visits a donation site. The BP on the day also needs to be within a certain range. 
Are persons who have a high level of cholesterol allowed to donate blood?
Persons with high cholesterol levels, whether controlled by diet or medication, are allowed to donate blood.  
Can persons who are on treatment for osteoporosis donate blood?
Donors being treated with bisphosphonates are eligible to donate blood. One should consult with our Medical Officers prior to blood donation, stating the exact type of medication, form and dose of treatment.
Can asthmatic persons donate blood?
Asthmatics who are not on any treatment may donate blood. If the donor is on treatment, s/he is advised to contact the Centre to discuss the treatment with the Medical Officer, as donation depends on whether or not the asthma is ‘controlled’ as well as the treatment being taken. 
Can individuals with celiac disease donate blood?

If the donor’s Hb on the day of donation is adequate for donation (≥12.5 g/dL for females and ≥13.5 g/dL for males), the donor may donate. In addition, the donor should not have undergone a gastroscopy during the preceding four months.

In general, donors are encouraged to provide prescriptions/ discharge letters when attending Blood Donation Centres. 

When would I be able to give blood after having a dental procedure? 

Seven days after root canal treatment, dental capping (crown or veneer), or having a tooth removed. For other dental procedures, it would be best to contact us and discuss with our medical officers.

Are foreigners allowed to donate blood?
For traceability reasons and due to logistical matters, we only accept donors with a valid Maltese identification document which includes a Maltese ID Card number (accepted documents are a Maltese ID card, Maltese Passport, Maltese Driving Licence, e-Residence Card for foreigners or a Diplomatic Card in cases of Diplomats). Thus, residents who are not originally Maltese nationals with a Maltese I.D. card are allowed to donate, pending the donor selection process. 
Can someone who has lived in the UK donate blood?
Residence in the UK seems to be a major risk factor for vCJD (variant Creutzfeld Jacob Disease; commonly referred to as “mad cow disease”). Since there is no test available for the detection of vCJD, all donors who have lived in the UK for a cumulative period of 6 months or more between 1980 and 1996 are permanently deferred from blood donation.

The directive has been implemented in all European countries, US, Australia and Canada. It is a safety measure against a theoretical risk. However, since there is a potential transmission of vCJD via a transfusion, it is advisable to implement this protocol. In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, some of the measures introduced in 2004 in relation to vCJD were recently withdrawn.  NBTS Malta is monitoring the situation and will review the deferral accordingly.

If I travelled during the past year am I eligible to donate blood?
If you travelled recently it is advisable to call us on 22066201 or 79307307 or freephone  80074313 before coming to donate blood.

I have not felt well since I made my donation yesterday - I think I might be coming down with the flu - what should I do?
Donors are requested to get in touch with NBTS immediately if they feel unwell during the first 5 days post-donation since this might affect the fate of their donation.  One can call us all week from 8.00 a.m. till 6.00 p.m. on telephone number 22066201. You may also SMS on 79307307 or e-mail us at customercare.nbts@gov.mt anytime.
Is it true that blood is being 'sold' to private hospitals?
No. Currently, there are no charges to private hospitals for this service. However, it is estimated that to process, screen and make blood available to patients cost the National Blood Transfusion Service ~€150 per unit of red cells. 
Is it true that patients in private hospitals are preferred more than patients in the state hospitals when it comes to receiving blood because they pay for it?
This is not true. Currently, there are no charges to private hospitals for our service. Blood is given to patients in whom it is indicated, regardless of whether the patient is in a state or private hospital. There is no preference.​  On occasions when there is a shortage of blood, blood is given to the patients most in need. On rare occasions, non-urgent (elective) operations may be postponed.
Where should I phone if I have any other questions?
If you have further queries please phone 22066201 or 79307307 or freephone 80074313.