New rule – donate blood one week after getting inked

Tattoo fan Sharyn Brown, rolls up her sleeve to donate blood with Lana Harris, both Lifeblood Coffs Harbour employees.

FRESH ink? There’s no worries donating blood now.

Under a new rule change to blood donation, Mid North Coast locals can roll up their sleeves and present their veins just a week after getting a new tattoo.

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Currently people can make a plasma donation immediately after getting a tattoo but until Monday 26 June, had to wait four months to donate blood.

The latest rule change, which came into effect on Monday 26 June 2023, significantly reduces this wait time between getting a tattoo and donating blood from four months to just seven days.

The new rules apply only to tattoos received in licensed Australian tattoo parlours or cosmetic clinics.

People who received tattoos in unlicensed or overseas premises will still need to wait four months before donating.

A study of tattooed donors conducted by Lifeblood together with the Kirby Institute, UNSW, found that those inked in Australian licensed tattoo parlours or cosmetic clinics are safe to donate.

With one in four Aussies now inked and the trend for tattoos showing no sign of slowing down, Lifeblood spokesperson Ruth Harrison told News Of The Area the change will provide a boost to blood donations.

“We’re thrilled that from today we can welcome thousands of eligible tattooed donors to our local donor centres who would previously have had to wait four months to donate blood,” she said.

“You can now donate blood just seven days after a new tattoo, or you can donate plasma straightaway, without any wait period at all.

“Close to 10,000 donors report one or more tattoos a year to Lifeblood, so this rule change could result in around 10,000 extra blood donations a year.

“People with tattoos are perfect donors because we know they’re not afraid of needles – one of the biggest barriers for new donors donating blood or plasma for the first time.

“We want to make sure everyone knows being inked doesn’t disqualify them from donating.

After a Lifeblood survey found more than 15 percent of Australians believe having a tattoo means you can’t donate at all, Ruth Harrison said the change provided an opportunity for community education.

“We’re fortunate to have one of the safest blood supplies in the world, and we’re continuing to focus on making it easier for all Australians to donate, while ensuring our blood supply remains safe for patients.”

The change comes as the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie Blood Donor Centres need 250 additional people to donate blood over the next two weeks.

To check your eligibility and book a donation, phone 13 14 95, visit or download the DonateBlood app.


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