Donating Blood for T1D Veterans

Ok, this is one for the 20+ year veterans out there. Has anyone else tried to donate blood and been denied? I have and I think the reasoning is ridiculous. I was diagnosed in 1985. At the time, most insulins available were made from animals (either beef or pork insulin, or sometimes a combination of both), whereas today most insulins are synthetically created in labs. So, in the 80s I used beef/pork insulin to control my diabetes. Later, beef insulin was discontinued and I switched to pork insulin, followed by the synthetic brands as they became available. Currently it has been AT LEAST 25 years since I’ve taken beef insulin.

The blood bank told me about 8 years ago that I am not allowed to donate blood because by taking beef insulin in my lifetime I could possibly-maybe (not really) have mad cow disease. Are they serious? I would think after all these years I would know if I had mad cow disease by now. I had given up on donating blood and kind of forgotten about this until yesterday. I am currently pregnant and wanted to donate my cord blood to research at the time of delivery. I was sent an application to sign up for donation and literally the 3rd question on the application asked if I had EVER taken beef insulin. I still submitted the application but I’m guessing I’ll be denied due to this. Come on–I’m just trying to help humanity out here!

In case you’ve never heard of this mad cow disease problem, here’s the most official thing I could (quickly) Google about it:

It’s great to be cautious, but I agree that this is nuts given how long it’s been. I just looked up the policy for United Blood Services, and that’s correct that if you ever took beef/pork, you can never donate. How lame! I would write your congresspeople and make them aware. I know they’re finally allowing gay men to donate as long as they are HIV-negative, so maybe this will eventually be removed as a restriction.

I experienced the same thing. About 10 years ago I was told by Red Cross I was banned for life to give blood because I had taken insulin in the 1970’s and 1980’s when only beef/pork insulin was available so I may have latent Mad Cow Disease.

It’s extremely silly. At least it gave my husband something to tease me about.

The funny thing was that, never having heard of this before, I did donate blood maybe 3-4 times before ever being asked about taking beef insulin and being denied. So some other poor soul in my area probably has my mad cow disease now if they used my donation :stuck_out_tongue:

I never heard of this before, I donate blood all the time!