Can You Donate Blood If You Have a Tattoo?

can-donate-blood-tattoo Credit: Denise Krebs/CC-BY-2.0

The American Red Cross allows individuals with tattoos to donate blood if the tattoo was done at a state-regulated and licensed facility. If the tattoo was not done at a licensed facility, the Red Cross imposes a 12-month waiting period.

State regulated tattoo parlors must incorporate standard safety procedures into their practice. These facilities are subject to a high standard of cleanliness and may not reuse ink or needles on multiple clients. This ensures that customers are safe from blood-born pathogens like HIV and Hepatitis. If the tattoo was performed at an unregulated facility, the 12-month waiting period ensures that any diseases potentially contracted while receiving the tattoo will show up on a screening.