Modelling the Need for New Blood Donors Following a Change in Deferral Period

  • John T. BlakeEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics book series (PROMS, volume 280)


Blood donation is considered a safe procedure. Injuries are not common during blood donation and are most frequently fainting or minor bruising. Blood donation does, however, lower iron stores. Recently, Canadian Blood Services announced plans to increase the deferral period for females from 56 to 84 days between consecutive donations to avoid the risk of anemia. The change will reduce the number of collections that can be obtained from women. Lost donations have both a permanent component in terms of fewer donations, as well as a transient effect, due to the timing of the last donation by female donors prior to the implementation of the deferral change. In this paper, we present a forecasting model and optimization routine to identify donor requirements following the change in deferral durations. Model results suggest that the deferral change should be phased-in as female donors book new appointments. Phasing in the policy change reduces the need for newly recruited donors by 5–10%. Nevertheless, a substantial recruiting effort will be required for the first five weeks following the deferral change. Results also show that 32,000 to 35,000 additional donations will be required to during that period. These results were subsequently adopted by CBS, as donation targets following the change in deferral policy and the figure of 35,000 additional donations has been widely quoted in the press.


Blood collections Donor recruiting Linear programming 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Blood ServicesCentre for InnovationOttawaCanada

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