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Transfus Med. 2012 Dec;22(6):395-403. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2012.01184.x. Epub 2012 Sep 23.

The impact of increasing the upper age limit of donation on the eligible blood donor population in Canada.

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National Epidemiology and Surveillance, Canadian Blood Services, Ottawa, ON, Canada.



Using population prevalence data for deferrable diseases/conditions we estimated the Canadian population eligible to donate according to three upper-age limit scenarios.


The donor selection criteria limit the number of potential blood donors but relaxing the upper age criteria could mitigate this.


Forty deferral criteria were identified and their corresponding prevalence data obtained to estimate the number of people excluded by the criteria. The eligible blood donor population was estimated from national census data taking the age limits, deferral criteria and deferral time-period into account. As more than one disease/condition may co-exist, the estimate was adjusted to avoid over-representation.


Of about 33 million Canadians aged 17 (18 in Québec) to 65, 15·1 million (45·8%) are eligible to donate blood. This number increases to 15·7 million when including people up to 71 years and to 17·1 million in the absence of an upper age limit.


As about 1·2 million units are collected from 600,000 donors annually, there are more than enough eligible people to meet the need. However, recruitment of donors is challenging and the absence of an upper age limit allows an additional 2 million people to donate. Other countries may wish to consider modification of the upper age criterion to address the effect of an aging population on the blood supply.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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