Blood donor restrictions have finally been loosened for donors with fresh ink.
In some good news, Australians with new tattoos can now donate blood after just one week following a new decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Potentially contributing up to 10,000 extra donations each year, the latest rule change significantly reduces this wait time between getting a tattoo and donating blood from four months to just seven days.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.
Coming into effect on 26 June 2023, 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.
The rules for plasma remain unchanged – meaning people can still make a plasma donation immediately after getting a new tattoo.
— lifebloodau (@lifebloodau) June 25, 2023
The changes come following a study of tattooed donors conducted by Lifeblood in partnership with the Kirby Institute at UNSW, which 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 abating, Lifeblood Executive Director of Donor Experience Cath Stone said the change will provide a boost to blood donations.
“You can now donate blood just seven days after a new tattoo, or you can donate plasma straightaway, without any wait period at all,” Stone said.
“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.”
After a Lifeblood survey found more than 15% of Australians believe having a tattoo means you can’t donate at all, Ms Stone said the change provided an opportunity for community education.
“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.
“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 Australians to donate, while ensuring our blood supply remains safe for patients.”