Reduced exclusion period for certain criteria

Héma-Québec modifies some of its donor qualification criteria

Montréal, October 4, 2005—Effective October 5, 2005, Héma-Québec will change certain blood donor qualification criteria to reduce the temporary exclusion period from 12 to 6 months.

For safety reasons, certain individuals may be excluded from giving blood on a temporary or permanent basis. As part of its epidemiological vigilance program, Héma-Québec takes into consideration several technological advances as they pertain to the screening of diseases that may be passed on through transfusion.

Thus, in light of the most recent medical research and compliant with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards concerning blood and blood products, the temporary exclusion period from giving blood has been reduced from 12 to 6 months in the following cases:

  • Acupuncture
  • Injury by a contaminated needle
  • Contact with blood
  • Cocaine use (through the nose)
  • Electrolysis
  • Body piercing
  • Sexual intercourse with a partner whose past sexual practices are unknown or having received clotting factors
  • Tattoos

Blood donors currently excluded on a temporary basis for one of thoses criteria MUST dial 1-800-847-2525 BEFORE showing up at a blood drive. Héma-Québec representatives will assess their eligibility to give blood based on the revised criteria. They may also visit Héma-Québec’s Web site at to obtain further information.

Giving blood is a privilege. Receiving blood is a right. Héma-Québec employs very strict criteria to qualify its donors. Each donor must meet a host of qualification criteria before being eligible to give blood. Donor qualification criteria are designed to exclude any individual who may have been in contact with a disease that may be passed on through transfusion, thus posing a risk to recipients’ health. Remember that donors run absolutely no risk of contamination when they give blood. All materials are sterilized and used only once. The upper age limit for donating blood in Québec is eliminated; anyone in good health aged 18 years and older who meets the eligibility criteria can give blood every 56 days, i.e. is six times a year.

Created in September 1998, Héma-Québec’s mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet the needs of all Quebecers; and to provide and develop expertise and services, along with specialized and innovative products, in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation.

Give blood. Give life.

– 30 –