Restrictions on Donating blood in Germany


While I was back home, I was a St. John cadet and being that we took the oath to save lives, donating blood was basically something we organized to do annually. Back then the only restriction we had or would issue to those willing to donate was that they should be above 16 and weigh more than 56kg but since coming to Germany I’ve heard the silliest reasons why people can’t donate blood.

The basic requirements in Germany are that you:

  • Are aged between 18 and 68
  • Weigh 50kgs
  • Donate not more than once every two months (no more than 6times for men and 4times for women a year)

But behind these basic rules there are others no one mentions until you stop by a blood donation centre or in the worst case after you’ve been at the center for over an hour doing tests and filling in forms. Some of them are the silliest ever but maybe because they pay the donor, thus the high specifications for the “product”. Anyhu, here are some of the reasons they refuse blood in some stations. These are definitely not cast on stone and may change depending on which centre you visit, so don’t let some of these restrictions discourage you. Just stop by and ask questions, you just might be lucky enough to be allowed to donate:

Insufficient knowledge of German, reason stated is that if you can’t understand German you won’t be able to answer the forms accordingly albeit the forms are also offered in English.

  • If you lived in the UK more than a year between 1980 and 1996 due to the mad cow disease
  • If you have a short term residence permit because they need to track you in case of any issues, so only those with permanent status are allowed
  • If you’ve lived in Africa or Asia due to high incidences of AIDS and malaria
  • If you have hay fever or are on medication for it at the time of donation
  • If you have Harshimoto thyroiditis
  • If you’re a homosexual
  • If you have been in prison

Although all these reasons have explanations to them, some of them do sound discriminatory. As they continue to discriminate against willing donors, they should remember the 1998 Eschede ICE train cash that had hospitals run out of blood and call out to EVERYONE even the British troupes in the area to donate blood. Were the risks of mad cow lower then than now?

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