Stanford Blood Center to Implement FDA Eligibility Changes

September 16, 2020
Attention News Desk: Press Release (for immediate release)
Ross Coyle

STANFORD, Calif. — On September 17, Stanford Blood Center (SBC) will implement changes to donor eligibility criteria announced this past spring by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its updated guidance for travel to malaria-risk regions, risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and more.

“The shortened or eliminated deferrals will have a positive impact on our blood supply and allow more individuals to donate essential, life-saving blood to help meet the needs of local patients during the current pandemic and beyond,” said Dr. Suchi Pandey, Chief Medical Officer at Stanford Blood Center. “We consider these updates safe based on scientific data from the FDA and other key public health institutions, and these changes will stay in place even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.”

The following is a summary of changes put forth in FDA guidance:

Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of HIV Transmission

This guidance revised the deferral period from 12 months to 3 months for the following:

  • injecting non-prescription drugs
  • engaging in sex for money or drugs
  • engaging in sex with anyone who has had sex for money or drugs
  • receiving allogeneic transfusions of blood or components
  • having contact with someone else’s blood through percutaneous inoculation, such as needles stick of contact with open wound/mucous membranes
  • receiving a tattoo, ear/body piercing from any entity that is not regulated by the State of California
  • having a history of gonorrhea (eligible 3 months from completion of treatment)
  • for men, having sex with another man
  • for women, having sex with a man who had sex with another man within the previous 3 months

Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)

For geographical risk of vCJD (which is related to “mad cow disease”), this change finalizes the drafted guidance put out in January and eliminates the deferral of individuals who spent time on U.S. military bases in Europe and who lived in many European countries since 1980.  Individuals will still be deferred for possible vCJD risk related to time spent in the UK (cumulative 3 months from 1980-1996) and time spent in France or Ireland (cumulative 5 years from 1980-2001).

Please note, however, that anyone who has been previously deferred for this reason should not walk in for or immediately schedule an appointment without first contacting SBC. Anyone with a past deferral at SBC related to travel to/residence in Europe and related vCJD risk must reach out to our Telerecruitment team ahead of time at 888-723-7831 or to ensure they are properly cleared to give blood in our donor database, per FDA-approved processes.

Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Transmission of Malaria

This change reduces from 12 months to 3 months for travel to a malaria-endemic area. This does not, however, change deferral criteria for those who have live in an endemic area.

To learn more about your eligibility, please visit Individuals who have questions about their eligibility can call our team at 888-723-7831, or email us at

About Stanford Blood Center

Stanford Blood Center (SBC) is an independent, community blood center that supplies blood products and testing services to multiple Bay Area hospitals and is a recognized leader in the fields of transfusion and transplantation medicine. SBC was created at the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1978 to meet the complex transfusion and transplant needs of Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, as well as provide clinical trial services and specialized blood products for researchers. Today, the center remains locally focused, serving community hospitals, patients and donors, while contributing to research and advancement that impact the world at large. More information is available at