Published: 12:08 am, Sun. Dec. 18th, 2016Updated: 12:06 am
Beginning Monday, Dec. 19, United Blood Services New Mexico will begin a ferritin test on blood donors who are 16, 17 and 18 years of age.
New studies indicate that teenagers who donate frequently may be more susceptible to becoming iron deficient. A ferritin test determines the amount of iron stored in the body and better detects iron deficiency.
“Blood donation continues to be safe and it saves lives, but in an abundance of caution, United Blood Services will perform a ferritin test on each donation and ask teen donors with low ferritin levels to spread their donations out longer,” says Dr. Liz Rosenbaum, United Blood Services’ medical director.
Generally, donors can donate whole blood safely every 56 days. Young men with low ferritin levels will be asked to wait six months before making their next donation, while young women must wait one year before they will be allowed to donate again. United Blood Services’ number one priority is the safety and health of all donors, therefore we decided as an agency to initiate the ferritin testing.
Nationwide, teenage blood donors provide one out of every 13 blood transfusions and there are no medical substitutes for blood when a patient is in need. The implementation of this conservative approach will ensure the safety of teenage blood donors for the long term.
United Blood Services is this area’s nonprofit community blood provider and serves patients in 45 hospitals in New Mexico and the Four Corners Region. For more information about ferritin testing or to become a volunteer blood donor, call 246-1457 or 1-800-BEA-HERO.
Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 and 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.
For more information, visit www.UnitedBloodServices.org.