Tattoo artists illustrate tatts are no barrier to blood donation

Tattoo artists illustrate tatts are no barrier to blood donation

With the trend for tattoos showing no sign of abating, with one in four Aussies now getting inked, some of Australia’s leading tattoo artists are helping to bust the myth that having a tattoo prevents you from donating blood and plasma.

As part of this year’s International Plasma Awareness Week, which runs until October 7, four top Aussie tattoo artists —  James McKenna, Germ Flack, Jane Laver, and Matiu Davidson-Liga – have teamed up with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to inspire a new generation of blood and plasma donors, while addressing a common misperception about tattoos and eligibility.

A Lifeblood survey found more than 15% of Australians believe having a tattoo means you can’t donate.

However, Stuart Chesneau, who oversees Lifeblood’s plasma program, said tattoos were no barrier to donation.

“The results of the survey are concerning because one in four Aussies has a tattoo and we want to make sure they know that being inked doesn’t disqualify them from donating. In fact, you can donate plasma straightaway*, without any wait period at all.

“For whole blood donations, we ask you to wait four months, after having a tattoo,” he explained.

As part of the campaign, the four artists have designed 12 temporary blood type tattoos, which will be offered to every person who donates blood and plasma throughout October.

Melbourne tattoo artist Jane Laver said she got involved in the campaign to debunk the myth around tattoos and blood and plasma donations.

“Clearly it’s been a challenging time for the blood supply, and we need to raise awareness around the tattooing myth that plasma donation is hindered by the acquisition of a tattoo,” she said.

Lifeblood needs 1600 people to donate plasma every day this month, as demand for the lifesaving product reaches record levels.

Mr Chesneau said plasma was considered a modern medical miracle because it is often the last line of defence for many health conditions.

“Australia is one of the world’s largest users of plasma medicines, with thousands of people relying on them to treat life-threatening conditions every day.

“Plasma-derived medicines are used to treat more than 50 serious medical conditions,” he said.

“Just one of these medicines, immunoglobulin (Ig), is needed by more than 13,300 Australians every month to treat acute or ongoing conditions to maintain their quality of life.”

Donate this month, receive a temporary tattoo and help spread the word that blood donation and ink do mix.

“The tattoo might only be temporary, but the impact your donation makes is life-long,” Mr Chesneau said.

Check your eligibility to donate. New and existing donors are welcome. Book a blood or plasma donation online, by calling 13 14 95, or by downloading the DonateBlood app.

*Tattoos must be done in a licensed tattoo parlour in Australia