Blog changes

Thanks to everyone who followed Training Because I Can! over the last nine years. This blog started with Addison's Disease, hypothyroidism and a crazy idea of doing an Ironman distance triathlon. My life has changed and so has this blog. I am using this blog strictly for Addison's Support topics from here on out. I hope to continue providing people with hints for living life well with adrenal insufficiency.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Addison's: Blood donation, organ donation and bone marrow donation

Can we donate or not?

It turns out that there's a good reason we might not know if we can donate blood, organs or bone marrow in the United States. The answer is not clear cut. In the case of blood, it depends where you live and what organization you go through. In any case, if you're alive and donating blood, organs or marrow, you need to be feeling good. Being on hydrocortisone, florinef or thyroid meds does not necessarily preclude you from being a blood donor.


Ultimately, the decision whether or not to accept an Addisonian's blood is a decision of the regional medical director of a particular organization. Each regional medical director determines eligibility of a particular condition AND criteria change constantly. Donors can also be allowed or deferred on a case by case basis by the regional medical director. As an Addisonian, you may be able to donate blood in Idaho but not in New York. You may be able to give blood this year but not next. What it comes down to is that if you're interested in giving blood, find out if you meet your region's eligibility standards and talk to the regional medical director.

Examples of blood donation eligibility and deferrment
According to the Idaho Red Cross, people such as myself with Addison's and hypothyroid and in good health are permitted to donate blood.

Hi Dusty,
Yes you are eligible to donate with all medicines and diseases considered. Autoimmune disease doesn’t disqualify you if you aren’t in a flare up. We don’t recommend donating at that time for your health. Thanks for your inquiry!
Barbara Shapel
Donor Counselor II
Boise, ID
Fax 208-344-4353

However, the New York Blood Center will NOT allow persons with Addison's disease to donate. They have a very comprehensive list of excluded medical conditions.

Bone Marrow

Bone marrow seems to be a more cut and dry situation. I contacted the National Marrow Donor Program and here was their response to me:

Dear Dusty,
Thank you for your interest in the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP). According to the NMDP medical conditions chart, an individual who has Addison's Disease would be not accepted as a donor or allowed to remain on the Registry due to donor risk. Medical deferrals of donors are made for the protection of the donor and the patient.
If you have any further questions, please contact us by e-mail or toll-free at 1 (800) 654-1247.
National Marrow Donor Program

No, Addisonian's can not donate bone marrow.

Organ Donation

Organ donation can be one of two things: live donation or deceased donation. I searched many websites and they make it sound like anyone can donate with few exceptions. I put a call into the University of Utah Medical Center's Ann Hansen. When I asked her if Addisonian's can donate live or deceased organs she said, "I'll have to talk to the nephrologist and get back to you." I believe that because Addison's disease is uncommon, has only recently (within the last 50 years) been treated and because we're supposed to have a normal life expectancy there have been very few inquiries with regard to desceased donation of organs. When I get a definitive regional answer, I will post with the response.

1:30 PM Ann from the University of Utah returned my call. At the University of Utah Medical Center's transplant facility:

  • Addisonian's CAN donate organs after death. If you're interested, fill out a donor card, sign the organ donor space on the back of your driver's license and let your desire to be a donor be known by your family members. Get started today if you're interested.
  • Addisonian's MAY be able to donate live organs BUT an extensive questionnaire must be filled out, more information about your particular circumstance is necessary to determine the safety of the organ donation.

According to the Canadian Addison's Society, Canadians may donate organs. See this PDF, top of Page 17.


If you're serious about donating blood or organs, talk to the medical person who runs the organization to which you would like to donate. As with anything to with Addison's disease, research, research, research. You may be surprised and find out that you can donate!


Roni said...

I just went to a military blood drive and was turned away because of steriod replacement therapy. It took a few hours to find this out unfortunately.

Unknown said...

Hey Roni,

In what state did you try to donate blood? It's so interesting how rules differ so much for donation, isn't it??


Anonymous said...

I have always wonder about this. I am going to have to email some people now.

Unknown said...


I'm glad I could help! When you find out what the Nebraska guidelines are for blood donation, will you email me or post a comment?



Anonymous said...

I do plan to post everything I find to, but so far:

The Nebraska: Community Blood Bank says NO.

Biomat USA (which handles blood and plasma donation) implied they would held it on a person by person bases.

Anonymous said...

the Cornhusker Chapter of the red cross said yes also.

Unknown said...


Thanks for checking that out. I will post it on my blog tomorrow. I will also post a link to your blog. I tried to answer one of your polls a couple of weeks ago but this old lady couldn't figure out how to work it!


Anonymous said...

lol. Right now you have to be a user on the site to answer the polls, but I consider changing that soon.

Holly said...

Wyoming's changed and I can now not donate with Addison's.

Theresa said...

I recently signed up to be on a bone marrow donation registry and was accepted. (At the time I didn't even know Addisonians couldn't donate blood.)The organization is called "Be the Match."