We keep hearing tales that people with tattoos can’t donate blood, but we assure you that in Australia at least, this is a myth! You can save lives and still sport that tattoo.

  • Tattoos: You can donate plasma (and show off your new ink!) straight away after a tattoo, as long as it was done in a licensed tattoo parlour in Australia. But, you’ll need to wait four months to give blood or platelets, no matter how big or small the tattoo is — that means cosmetic tattoos, too.
  • Ear piercing: You can only donate plasma for the first 24 hours after having it done. After that, you can donate blood or platelets too.
  • Body piercing: You can only donate plasma for the next 4 months after having it done. After that, you’re good to give blood or platelets.

Source: Lifeblood Australia

Below we’ve answered some common questions around giving blood after getting a tattoo, and we hope this helps you with understanding the process around giving blood in the future.

Are any tattoos exempt from the blood donation waiting period?

No types of tattoos are exempt from the four-month waiting period before donating blood PLATELETS within Australia.

This means if you get a cosmetic tattoo, such as your eyebrows tattooed on, you will still need to wait four months.

But you can still donate plasma!

Why is there a four-month waiting period on donating blood after getting a tattoo?

The reason why you need to wait until six months after you get your tattoo before donating blood is in order to minimise the chance of infection.

The risk of getting an infection such as hepatitis from a tattoo is almost non-existent if you visit a reputable tattoo studio, but it goes without saying that blood banks need to be overly cautious when it comes to a risk of contaminated blood being donated.

 

Do Australians need blood donations?

The Red Cross says there are more than nine million people in Australia who are eligible to give blood but only 3% of the entire population does so.

When you consider one in three Australians will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives, the need for more blood donations becomes all the more obvious.

Has a love of tattoos reduced the number of people giving blood?

Unfortunately, some people wrongly believe that once they have received a tattoo, they will no longer be able to donate blood, but this simply isn’t the case. Due to this misinformation, and the rise in love for body art, the Red Cross says it has seen a decrease of about 4,000 people a year in giving blood.

If you’re worried about the waiting period for donating blood after getting a tattoo, why not visit the Red Cross Blood Bank before you get inked and donate first? This way you can feel good about having done a good deed while still going ahead with your tattoo.