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'Can I Donate Blood if I Have a Tattoo?'

tattoo arm giving blood
By Elizabeth Hanes, BSN, RNAugust 21, 2020

When you decided to ink that magnificent hibiscus flower on your forearm, you may not have given a second thought to what the tattoo might mean for your ability to donate blood. But now that the U.S. blood supply has dropped to critically low levels (due to COVID-19), you may have felt the urge to donate – only to be told by some “well-meaning” person (on Facebook, of course) that you can’t give blood because of your tattoo.

Is it true that you can’t donate blood if you have a tattoo?

No, it definitely is not true. People with tattoos can donate blood. In fact, blood donation centers will welcome you and your beautiful ink with open arms.

It’s a myth that people with tattoos are barred from donating blood, though you may need to wait three months if you got your tattoo in one of these states, which don’t regulate tattoo parlors:

  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

The reason you may be asked to wait a few months after getting inked is to make sure you didn’t pick up hepatitis along the way. Keep in mind this restriction applies to cosmetic tattoos, such as permanent eyeliner, as well as skin art. But having a tattoo, in and of itself, doesn’t automatically disqualify you from ever giving blood.

 

 

 

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