, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 337–345

Iron stores in female blood donors evaluated by serum ferritin


  • N. Milman
    • Department of Medicine P and Blood BankBispebjerg Hospital
  • M. Søndergaard
    • Department of Medicine P and Blood BankBispebjerg Hospital
  • C. Mygind Sørensen
    • Department of Medicine P and Blood BankBispebjerg Hospital
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF00320044

Cite this article as:
Milman, N., Søndergaard, M. & Sørensen, C.M. Blut (1985) 51: 337. doi:10.1007/BF00320044


Iron stores were evaluated by serum ferritin determinations in 948 menstruating and 141 non-menstruating female blood donors. Blood donation was associated with a decrease in ferritin. First-time donors (n=163) had a geometric mean ferritin of 24 μg/l and multiple-time donors a value of 19 μg/l (p<0.01). In the donating population 31.5% had ferritin values < 15 μg/l (i.e. depleted iron stores). Menstruating donors had lower mean serum ferritin than non-menstruating donors (p<0.001), and a higher frequency of ferritin values < 15 μg/l (p<0.05). There was no relationship between ferritin levels and the number of pregnancies. The frequency of donations was more predictive of ferritin levels than the number of donations. Mean ferritin displayed a moderate fall up to the 2nd donation, and was hereafter relatively constant, whereas an increase in donation frequency was accompanied by a significant decrease in ferritin. Female donors, especially when phlebotomised ≥3 times per year, should have their iron status checked at appropriate intervals by measurement of serum ferritin and should be advised regular iron supplementation.

Key words

Blood donorsFerritinHaemoglobinIron metabolism

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985