Those that see my Facebook posts know that it is quite often that I put out a plea for blood donations. Folks sometimes say Well, in Canada or in the US it is this way or that way. That does not really matter because we are in Mexico and the rules are vastly different here.
In reality, there are three blood banks in the area.
The one for private hospitals and institutions is located on the second floor of Hospital San Javier Marina. It is not owned by the hospital. It is an independent entity.
The IMSS system has their own blood bank and is located at the main IMSS in the hotel zone.
The Regional Hospital also has their own blood bank.
Rules for donors are pretty much the same at each blood bank although at IMSS and Regional Hospital, to donate one must go around 6am in order to make the appointment to donate. At the blood bank located at San Javier no appointment is needed and they normally accept donors from 8.00 am until about 3.00 pm but will often accept later if it is an emergency situation.
Age: 18 to 60-65 BUT the upper age limit can vary. If the person is in excellent health and meets all of the other requirements and especially if it is an emergency situation, the blood bank will be a bit more flexible with age limits.
Tattoos: There are no Health Department rules for tattoo parlors here in the area so if one has received a tattoo around here, in order to donate, the tattoo (or a piercing) must be at least a year ago. For tattoos obtained outside of Mexico, date received is more flexible.
Sex: Anyone can donate, regardless of sexual preference. A confidential interview will be done at the Blood Bank with questions regarding number of partners.
Medications: There is a long list of medications that will disqualify a donor and the easiest way to check on this is to call the Blood Bank or you can ask me and I will check.
Recent surgery: Ok if it has been over six months ago
Recent Illness: OK if it is not current and has been cured (flu, cold).
Weight: Minimum weight of 50 kilos.
Alcohol: Consume no more than 2 alcohol beverages for 48 hours prior to donation.
Food: Fasting for a minimum of 4 hours and no more than 8 hours.
Once you have donated blood, the following exams are performed: HIV, Hepatitis C, Brucella, Syphilis, VDRL, Chagas Disease, Hematocrit, Rh factor, Blood Type, and Cross Match Compatibility among others. A Donor Card will be issued to you as proof and validity in case you need blood for yourself or a family member.
For the person receiving the blood donation, in order to lower the cost, two units of blood need to be donated for each unit received. So, it is important that if you are donating for a specific person, you tell the Blood Bank the name of the receiver.
Also, if you do not want to receive blood due to specific religious beliefs, it is very important that at admission to any hospital, that request is given to the admitting facility.
If you have specific questions you can call the blood bank at 226 1010 or you are welcome to send them to me and I will find the correct answer.
Here’s to a giving week!