Bill would lower age limits for blood donors
State lawmakers want to change the minimum age requirements for blood donors. Currently, you have to be 17, but recent changes to federal regulations allow 16-year-olds to donate with a parent's permission. The proposed bill would make the state's regulation the same.
State Rep. Mert Smiley (R) of Port Vincent is co-authoring the bill. He says it would open new avenues to make blood available to blood centers.
Directors with the LifeShare Blood Center say restrictions are making it tougher for people to donate. They say young people are often excited about taking part in this life saving opportunity. Reports over the years indicate about 60 percent of the population is eligibile to donate. LifeShare officials say newer numbers drop that to about 37 percent.
The bill will be filed for the upcoming legislative session. It would not include centers that pay patients for blood donations. Another center in Baton Rouge indicates it already allows 16-year-olds to donate because of the federal changes.