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Mayo Clinic extends waiting period between blood donations

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A new Mayo Clinic policy that requires blood donors to wait longer periods between donations could lead to a drop in the clinic's blood supply.

In May, the Mayo Clinic extended the waiting period between blood donations from 8 to 12 weeks, aiming to avoid iron loss in frequent donors. 

Now that regular donors have to wait longer, officials project a 10-percent drop in the clinic's blood supply.

To make up for the shortage, the clinic has started a campaign to convince people to donate one more time, said Blood Donor Center Medical Director Manish Gandhi said.

Gandhi said about 40 percent of Mayo Clinic blood donors donate once a year; another 10 percent donate twice a year.

"So we are hoping that even if these folks come one more time, we would be able to beat the 10 percent shortfall," he said.

Nationally, about 3 percent of eligible Americans donate blood; in Olmsted County, about 5 percent do.

"We also want to appeal to the other 95 percent of the population who doesn't even donate," Gandhi said. "If they can come and donate even just once, they can help us a lot."