Monday, June 16, 2008

CD and donating blood

My husband always donated blood to the IBC (Indiana Blood Center) and because he has type O positive they love him to donate whenever he is possible. After finding out he had CD he was very upset because he thought he would not be able to donate blood anymore. However, that is not the case - a person with CD can donate blood.

I found the following article on Clan Thompson's celiac site (


Yesterday my husband and I went to donate blood for the first time. He is type 0- which is always in demand, so we got up the courage to go! Well, imagine our surprise when they would not take his blood because he said he has Celiac Disease. Seems that's a reason to decline according to the FDA guidelines book they keep at the donation center. WHY? It's not contagious. Although celiac is genetic, I doubt a recipient would develop celiac from the blood.

In order to answer your question regarding Celiac disease and blood donations I contacted Ms. Debbie Bright, R.N., the Medical Assessment Coordinator for the American Red Cross. Celiac disease is not a contraindication in and of itself for individuals that would like to donate blood. It is in the list of disorders where blood is accepted. This was verified in the "Procedure Manual" dated January 2000. She was eager to correct any misconceptions that Celiacs have related to blood donation and they need to be aware they most certainly can donate blood if their hematocrits are least 38%. Anemia, of course, is a contraindication to donating blood. Prior to a blood donation, a drop of blood is obtained either from the ear or finger and must pass the copper sulfate test indicating a hematrocrit of at least 38%. If one fails, a more definitive test is performed. You need to also realize antibiotics are a cause for deferral and if you are a Celiac taking antibiotics for any reason, you are not eligible to donate blood at that time. Debbie Bright, R.N., was extremely helpful and is available to answer questions regarding blood donations and can be reached via e-mail at For those of you who prefer the telephone, 1-800-884-2710, extension 5526.

The University of Maryland also notes that a patient with CD can donate blood. That is to say that there could be other medical factors keeping them from donating such as anemia or an insufficient iron count.

The Indiana Blood Center is in constant need of donations, you can find information at:

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