As of Tuesday, 16-year-old Utahns will be allowed to donate blood if they have the written consent of their parents/guardians.Â
The American Red Cross Blood Services, ARUP Blood Services and MountainStar Blood Services worked with Representative Stephen G. Handy, (R) Layton, to change Utah laws during the 2011 legislative session.Â Prior to the passage of the Human Blood Procurement and Use Act (House Bill 64) in February, those 18 years old and older could donate along with 17 year olds providing signed parental consent. Younger teens were ineligible to give blood. Â
Accepting blood donations from 16 year olds has proven to be an acceptable practice and 41 states have now adopted 16 as the minimum donation age.Â By lowering the donation age in Utah, it is estimated there will be an increase of 10 - 20 percent among high school age donors. Â
All three blood collections agencies agree that exposure to voluntary blood donation at high school blood drives is important. It will provide an opportunity to educate potential donors on the benefits of a lifetime of committed service to the community through blood donation.Â Allowing blood donation at ages 16 and 17 gives the average student multiple opportunities to be a blood donor, receive education on this important civic duty and form a lifelong commitment to blood donation.