I was a registered bone marrow donor in the UK and a blood donor in Greece. Post-diagnosis I contacted the Anthony Nolan trust to inform them and they explained to me that people with autoimmune disorders cannot be bone marrow donors in the UK. I don't know if the US has similar rules on this... Like Clare says, rules seem to vary from place to place so it might be a good idea to ask the marrow registry in your area about this!
"Can systemic lupus or discoid lupus patients be blood donors?
A. On the whole patients with lupus are discouraged from giving blood.
We asked the Blood transfusion centre why this was their policy was and was given the following answer by Dr Angela Gorman Consultant Haematologist:
There are two main principles underlying our advice on donor selection - firstly, to ensure as far as humanly possible the safety of blood being transfused and, secondly, to ensure that we do not risk the health of our donors in any way. A number of broad categories of illness will prevent a volunteer from donating blood. These include malignancy, illnesses of unknown origin and systemic inflammatory conditions. This is because, without a full understanding of the causes of such conditions, we cannot ensure that we are not risking the transmission of harmful chemicals or toxins to the patient and, furthermore, we cannot be certain that we will not harm the donor in any way.
We are aware that this disappoints many potential volunteers but we must be extremely careful not to allow our need for additional blood donors to override our duty of care to the potential volunteer. Equally, we must avoid the risk of harming the blood recipient, even if this means unnecessarily refusing some donations."
Of course the above passage is for the UK, so it might be a good idea to contact your local blood donation bank and ask them!
I just found the Red Cross Eligibility Guidelines for blood donation in the US and it seems that lupus doesn't necessarily exclude you as a blood donor in the States (at least not for the red cross). Here is the link:
My veins are so bad I have problems getting enough blood for a blood test let alone giving it (not to mention I'm afraid of needles ) but my Rheumy keeps telling me its okay for me to stay an Organ Doner. Its nice that here in Florida you can note that on your Drivers Liscense so its always with you.
I have never been able to give blood in Belgium as they won't accept anyone who lived in England for more than a certain number of months (I think three) before 1984 or 1986 - I can't remember exactly!
A few years back I went to see if I could get on the bone marrow donors list, I had a family member with Leukemia. I was told then no because of my Hypothyroid condition. Don't know about donating blood. But I thought the answer would be no because of all the meds I'm taking for they thyroid condition and the lupus.