It's almost as if they don't want your blood. I was looking for the blood bank at St. Luke's QC when I saw a poster at the blood bank's entrance saying that only 2% of the population are eligible to donate blood. Only 2% are eligible? I assumed that was a mistake and the poster maker meant only 2% donate, but I found out that the poster meant exactly what was printed.
I was directed to wait in the little vestibule/foyer of the main blood drawing room without having even been given an information sheet to fill in. Slight waste of time there, but tolerable and unsurprising. When I was given the questionnaire, it contained the standard questions asking my medical history. Surprisingly unlike in the United States, the questionnaire didn't ask about travel to countries that have had outbreaks or donor's sexuality. I suppose the latter is very good because it doesn't make assumptions and discriminate a whole large group of already historically marginalized people. But then when the nurse took my form and discussed it with me, she asked additional questions like my menstruation, ear piercings and exact time of last meal. Apparently, I can have two ear piercings, one on each ear, but any more than that I'm not qualified to donate blood. That's such an arbitrary rule. Then the nurse asked when I had my last meal. I specifically had a large restaurant dinner as preparation and advanced reward for donating blood an hour before I arrived at the hospital. Turns out that I have to wait two hours after I eat to donate. I've looked up online and both the US and Philippine Red Cross don't say anything about this rule. Not only is it completely unfounded, but it's so specific that it becomes a very big deterrent to donating. Then lastly my menstruation: it must have been during my call beforehand to ask blood donation procedures when I learned about the hospital's policy of forbidding women on their periods to donate. "Aunt Flo" was running late so it was important for me to donate before she makes her late arrival, but nope the nurse still refused because even though my period hasn't arrived it should've arrived so I have to wait a week after my period to donate. That is maddening! So women assuming they have exactly two ear piercings can't donate half the time. That's a quarter of the possible donors disqualified! And what's worse is that like the previous two rules, it's completely arbitrary and not based on facts. No wonder only 2% of the population is eligible when you have arbitrary unfounded criteria for donors. I was in a hospital where medicine is performed, whither fact-based science go?
I rather enjoy donating blood (being a contributing member of society and burning 600 Calories are good motivations), so I'll call another hospital and see what it has to say.