Female blood donors and young donors have a particularly high risk for iron deficiency, and randomized trials have shown that iron replacement is important for recurrent donors. In order to assess the feasibility of iron-replacement for donors, researchers in Australia recruited female blood donors (18-45 years old) into two parallel replacement programs. Just over 1400 female donors received iron replacement literature and were advised to purchase iron supplements in the READ (replacement advice) program; 768 female donors were directly provided with iron replacement literature and iron supplements in the DIRECT (donor iron replacement) program. After donating, 75% of DIRECT donors were compliant in taking iron supplements compared to 25% of READ donors, and this compliancy was effective in reducing iron deficiency for DIRECT donors. However, the cost and time to deliver iron supplements to donors must also be considered.
Pasricha SR, Marks DC, Salvin H, Brama T, Keller AJ, Pink J, Speedy J. Postdonation iron replacement for maintaining iron stores in female whole blood donors in routine donor practice: results of two feasibility studies in Australia. Transfusion 2017.