- The minimum hemoglobin level for an individual to be accepted as a blood donor in North America is 13.5 g/dl for males and 12.5 g/dl for females. The present study was undertaken to determine the iron status of donors deferred because their hemoglobin did not meet present standards. This was done prospectively by measuring hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, ferritin and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin on venous samples of blood. The majority of deferred donors, 85% of males and 83% of females, were found not to be iron deficient. In order to determine objectively minimum hemoglobin standards for blood donors that would include the maximum number of non iron deficient donors while excluding the majority with iron deficiency ROC curves were drawn. This approach demonstrates that minimum hemoglobin levels can be established objectively and from our data indicates that these levels are 12.5 g/dl for males and 12.0 g/dl for females.