Iron stores in female blood donors evaluated by serum ferritin
- 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.