Reader question: I give blood in the UK. I will be in France for six months this year. Can I give blood and, if so, how do I register? P.B.
The Etablissement français du sang, a public body responsible for the collection of blood, confirmed that there are no residency conditions linked to giving blood in France.
However, restrictions do exist, linked to having spent time in certain parts of the world. These are checked via a questionnaire you fill in before giving blood.
The biggest barrier for most UK nationals is the rule avoiding transmission of ‘mad cow disease’. You cannot give blood if you were staying in the UK between the years 1980 and 1996 for a total period of more than one year.
Having said that, if this applies, you can still give blood if you ask that it be à usage non-thérapeutique – for example, for scientific research or as part of health professionals’ training, but not for giving transfusions.
Otherwise, there are limits regarding visits to countries where certain illnesses are prevalent, notably in tropical parts of the world, in the last one to four months, depending on the country. If you have been travelling, you can check rules country by country. This flags up no rules relating to spending time in the UK in recent months.
There are other personal factors that can make you ineligible – for example, based on age. People aged 71 or more cannot give blood, apart from in exceptional cases such as if you have a very rare blood group. Certain medical conditions or treatments, can also prevent you from giving blood, for example, if you are taking antibiotics or have been in close contact with someone with an infectious disease.
You can check here for a list of factors incompatible with giving blood.
If you are eligible to donate, you can make an appointment to give blood at a time and place convenient to you by clicking on the map on the website.