Can Diabetics Donate Blood?

We had a blood drive at my church last week, and I called Red Cross to see if I was allowed to donate. The person I spoke to said yes, as long as my blood sugar levels were under control, I ate afterwards, and I wasn’t diagnosed before 1990 I could donate. Perfect! I was all excited. First time I could give blood. Oh course, I arrived and they ask a ton of questions, and make you fill out some forms. Easy enough.

Are you over 5’4? Ha.. yes.. by a quarter of an inch.
Do you weigh more than 120 pounds? Ha.. I wish I was that skinny!
Have you traveled outside of the USA in the last year? Well, technically yes, but its been almost a year. (And I didn’t go to any countries they ask about)… so no.
Have you received any tattoos in the last year? No? I’m not 100% sure when I got my last one, but again its been about a year.
Do you have any medical problems that may interfere with you giving blood? Yes, I am a type 1 diabetic. Ok, please step aside and let us check into that. Can Diabetics Donate Blood to the Red Cross?Damnit… the lady on the phone said I could. Well, you can, it just really depends on the type of insulin you take, and when you were diagnosed. Let me look into it.

So the lady from Red Cross got out her book, and looked up diabetes. I am on Novolog insulin (and have been since my diagnosis in 1998). Apparently the type of insulin you take, or have ever taken, affects the fact if you can donate blood or not. Insulin made from human insulin is ok, but insulin made from cows and pigs is not. According to the little handy book she had there, Novolog was once made from the insulin of a pig (until about 1998, the year I was diagnosed!) Because of that, her book claimed me to be a “HIGH RISK” and she couldn’t allow me to donate. I asked why it was such a high risk, and she stated that it was because of the FDA’s fear that I could have antibodies for Mad Cow Disease.

I did some research when I got home, discovering that her book is wrong! According to the sites I read into, Novolog is made with a man-made human insulin, and from what I understood, it’s always been like that. Now I am totally confused, and can completely understand why the lady on the phone from American Red Cross was confused in telling me I could donate. Well, I don’t think I’ve got Mad Cow… I would think I would have found out by now. Oh well, I guess the Red Cross is sh*t outta luck for getting my precious blood! Change the dumb rules, and then you won’t have to complain that you don’t have enough blood at your blood banks. Because of the rules from the American Red Cross, I couldn’t give blood this time around…

The only hope I may have is calling the Red Cross next year to see if regulations have changed.

UPDATE!! Click here to read the update where I do give blood!