How to be a blood donor in Croatia

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UPDATED: 13/10/2022

Blood donation is one of the most human things that you can do for someone else. By donating blood, you may help someone recover from a severe disease or even save their life.

Voluntary blood donors are people who voluntarily donate blood, plasma, or other blood components. They are not paid for the donation in any form.

A blood donation can not harm your health. Since only healthy people can donate blood, a blood donation is actually control of your health and privilege.

The facts are these…

Who can be a blood donor in Croatia?

In Croatia, a blood donor can be a person with good general health who is a Croatian citizen.

Here are the predispositions:

  • Age: From 18 to 65
    • Up to 60 if blood is given for the first time
    • Up to 70 if the health is good
  • Body weight: Above 55 kg, proportional height
  • Body temperature: Up to 37°C
  • Blood pressure: Systolic 100 to 180 mm Hg, diastolic 60 to 110 mm Hg
  • Pulse: 50 to 100 beats per minute
  • Hemoglobin: Men 135 g/L, women 125 g/L

In Croatia, male blood donors can give blood up to four times a year, with a gap of three months between donations. Female blood donors are allowed to give blood up to 3 times a year, with a four-month gap between donations.

Who is not allowed to donate blood in Croatia?

About 10% of the donors are refused during the examination. They can be temporarily or permanently denied. The reason for rejection is always the risk of taking blood for the donor’s health or the risk of blood products for the patient’s health.

Blood donors shouldn’t be people who could damage their own health, or their blood could endanger the health of the patient. Foreign citizens cannot currently donate blood within Croatia.

Blood donors should not be people who:

  • Have less than 55 kg
  • Have symptoms of colds or just do not feel good
  • Have changes in the skin (infections, rash, fungal diseases,…)
  • Have too high or too low blood pressure
  • Are under therapy or have been under at least 7 days of antibiotic therapy
  • Are women in the regular monthly cycle, pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • Had removed teeth or had minor dental surgeries in the previous 7 days
  • Had their skin pierced or tattooed in the last 6 months
  • Are recently vaccinated
  • Are drunk
  • Have recently arrived in Croatia

View the full list of diseases that disqualify someone from blood donation here.

The rejected donors will receive an explanation of the reasons for not being able to give blood.

Where and when can you donate blood in Croatia?

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In Croatia, you can donate blood every day at organized blood donation drives as well as in some transfusion centers.

Regular blood donation drives are carried out in all major work organizations and local communities.

The time and venue of the action are announced through public media (newspapers, radio, TV), and the place of the donations is marked with posters.

[Read: Where to get your Croatian news]

You can get information about blood donation in other transfusion centers directly at each center.

Here is a schedule of current blood drives.

How to donate blood in Croatia?

Providing blood is a simple procedure. Be aware that you should eat a light meal a few hours before arrival at the place of donation. Do not eat fatty food or drink alcohol 8 hours before the donation.

1. Identification of the blood donor

Before you start the blood donation, you must provide your osobna iskaznica (ID card) and information on your:

  • Name and surname
  • Place of birth
  • OIB – View a guide here
  • Address of residence – View a guide here
  • Place of employment
  • Phone number at home and work
  • Blood donor book and the number of blood donations you have given.

2. Checking health condition

Your health condition is important, and therefore every blood donation involves checking your health status.

Checking the health condition implies:

  • Blood iron check – fast method, from the droplet of blood obtained with a slight sting in the finger pad
  • Short talk with a doctor – checking your current and former health status
  • Medical examination – blood pressure and heart rate check

3. Blood donation

After the doctor approves the health condition, a blood donor is comfortably placed on the blood donor bed. An experienced healthcare technician selects a vein in an elbow pad and brings a needle into the vein.

The needle is linked to a plastic bag where blood is stored. Blood donation only lasts from 8 to 12 minutes. They will take approximately 5 liters of blood.

After the donation, a donor has to take a short break with a refreshing and light meal.

Overall, donating blood can take about 30 minutes of your time.

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Rights and benefits of blood donors

Voluntary blood donors in Croatia have the right to a paid leave (1 free day) from work.

Voluntary blood donors who are insured by HZZO and are men who donated blood more than 35 times or women who donated blood more than 25 times, the supplementary health insurance premium is paid by HZZO.

Once you reach the threshold of 25 blood donations for women or 35 for men, you can take your blood donation booklet to the HZZO offices and request your free supplementary health insurance. You can do this every year and get free supplementary health insurance for the rest of your life.

Regular voluntary blood donors in the city of Zagreb have the right to a free annual public transportation ticket. To qualify, men must have donated blood 30 and more times and women 20 times or more. This right is exercised in the City Office for Health (Draškovićeva 15). You need to provide:

  • Application form – It is available here
  • Certificate from the Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine (Petrova 3) on the number of donations
  • Confirmation from your employer confirming that they do not pay for the transport (if you are employed)
  • Certificate from the Croatian Employment Service (if you are unemployed)
  • Pension Solution or Notification of Receipt of Documentation at the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (if you are retired)
  • Copy of personal ID card (both sides)

View our other donation articles

Darujte krv by Hrvatski Crveni križ

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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