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Can people with epilepsy donate their organs or blood? Myth-busting

This page is about National Epilepsy Week 2013. Find out how you can get involved in 2016.

Myth: People with epilepsy can’t donate their organs or blood

Fact: You can donate your organs if you have epilepsy but in most cases not blood

Red blood cells

Blood donation

According to the National Blood Service, it is very unlikely that people with epilepsy will be allowed to give blood (UK).

People who have epilepsy are allowed to donate blood if they have not taken epilepsy medicines in the last three years, and have not had a seizure in the last three years. These are rules from the Blood Safety and Quality Regulations (2005).

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Comments: read the 5 comments or add yours

Comments

Hey..
I live in India. I had a convulsion around 1.5 years back but I wasn't diagnosed with epilepsy. I donated my blood today and feel perfectly fine. However,I'd feel more comfortable knowing that my history of one convulsion is not likely to affect the possible recipient of my blood. Could you get back to me and let me know ? Thanks

Submitted by MS on

Hi MS

You will be pleased to know that epilepsy is not passed on by our blood. If there was no known cause such as an infection for your seizure, it should be ok. If there was a cause for your seizure, talk to your local blood transfusion service.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Jude@epilepsyaction on

I take anti-seizure medication (a very small amount) for restless leg syndrome. I have never donated blood due to the fact I was born in England in '91. I have never had a seizure and there is no history of epilepsy in my family, am I allowed to donate?

Submitted by Laura Jelsma on

Hi Laura
We only know the donation regulations for people with epilepsy. If you go the ‘Give Blood’ website you can use their health checker to see if you can give blood.

Regards
Diane
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane, Epilepsy... on

I really hope this is investigated further, it is so frustrating not being able to donate blood!

Submitted by Alison H on