What Donors Should Know About Iron and Blood Donation

The American Red Cross routinely checks your hemoglobin before each blood and platelet donation. Hemoglobin is a protein in your body that contains iron and carries oxygen to the tissues in your body. A screening test measures the amount of hemoglobin from a single drop of blood obtained from a finger stick. If your hemoglobin is too low, we will ask that you wait to donate.

Iron is an essential mineral that is a part of hemoglobin that helps maintain your strength and energy. Your body needs iron to make new blood cells, replacing the ones lost through blood donations.

There are things you can do to help maintain healthy iron levels:

For more specific information, or some commonly asked questions, please use the resources below:

The Red Cross does not currently accept blood donations from individuals who have hereditary hemochromatosis or from those who require treatment for iron overload by therapeutic phlebotomy.