top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Plea for blood donors in France as May bank holidays hit supplies

Stocks of the ‘universal group’ type O are particularly low. We explain how to check eligibility and give blood in France

A photo of a white van with red words in France spelling ‘Urgent: Blood’

Demand for blood donations is high in France right now, especially ahead of a public holiday-heavy month Pic: ricochet64 | Shutterstock

Blood donors are being urged to come forward in France to help the country through May.

Those with blood type O are in particular demand, said France’s blood collection organisation Etablissement français du sang (EFS).

“With the four public holidays and the long weekends [in May], more than 25,000 blood bags will not be collected by the EFS teams,” said EFS in a press release. “However, during this period patients continue to need blood products to be treated.”

Donors will be needed throughout the holiday periods because the lifespan of blood products is limited. Red blood cells can last for 42 days, but platelets expire after just seven.

EFS said around 10,000 blood donations are needed every day for transfusions for patients across France, but O-type levels are running low. 

It said: “For several weeks, blood reserves have been widely stable, but stocks of one blood type are dropping significantly; type O, and in particular the O rhesus negative.”

Blood type O is in particular demand. This is because it can be given to everyone else, whatever their blood type. However, just 6% of the population is type O, and they can only be given type O themselves.

How can I register and give blood in France?

You can register and find your nearest blood donation centre on the website, or on the smartphone app Don de Sang, which is available for iOS and Android.

You can search by your postcode and address for the nearest blood donation drive and find out whether the centre is permanent or mobile.

The website and app will also tell you the date and time that donations are being taken. The times will usually be a window, such as 09:00 to 15:30, or 14:00 to 16:00.

You can then make an appointment, and select whether you want to give blood, plasma or platelets. 

Before giving blood, you will need to confirm that you are eligible to do so. You can do this via the online quiz here. The quiz asks questions about your medical, sexual, and travel history; and details on how long it has been since you have given blood, or when you last had a piercing or tattoo.

One important criterion to be aware of is that to be eligible to give blood in France, you must not have spent more than one year total in the UK between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 1996. 

This is because of an outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or ‘mad cow disease’) during this period. The protein that causes CJD can be transmitted via blood transfusion (but the NHS states that this has happened just five times in the UK).

Read more: British people can give blood in France (just not for transfusions) 

Read more: Giving blood: When will France end ban over UK’s 1980s BSE outbreak? 

If the quiz says you are eligible, this is no guarantee. You will first take part in a medical interview at the blood donation centre before you give to double-check your eligibility. If you are not eligible you can still help with blood drives by working as an ambassador or a centre volunteer, or by donating money.

On the day of the donation, you are advised to drink plenty of water and eat before you go. You will also need photo ID when you arrive.

You can only give blood once every eight weeks, platelets every four weeks, and plasma every two weeks.

Read also

Can British people banned from giving blood in France be organ donors?

France to lift blood donation ban for gay men who have had recent sex

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France