How long does it take to give blood?
The process for whole blood donation usually
takes about one hour. The blood collection itself is usually about
10 minutes. The donation process includes registration, a brief
medical screening, blood collection and refreshments. Expect to
spend about two hours for apheresis (platelet) collections.
How much blood is taken?
Whole blood and apheresis (platelet) donations
are about 1 pint. One pint is roughly equal to 1 pound.
How often can I give?
Donate whole blood every 56 days. Red blood
cells are the oxygen carrying cells. They can take two weeks or
longer to fully return to normal.
Donate platelets (apheresis donation) as much as twice in one week
-- or up to 24 times per year. Platelet and plasma components are
replaced in the body more quickly than red cells. Platelets will
return to normal levels within a few hours of donating. Plasma,
the watery substance of your blood, takes a couple of days.
What are platelets?
Platelets are tiny cell fragments that circulate
throughout the blood and aid in blood clotting. Platelets are also
known as thrombocytes.
How much blood do I have in my body?
Women have about 10 pints, and men about 12
pints of blood in their bodies.
Are there age limits for blood donors?
17 years old is the minimum blood donor age.
(In some states, 16-year-olds may donate.) There is no upper age
Is it safe to give blood?
Yes. Donating blood is 100 percent safe. You
cannot get HIV or any other infectious diseases from donating blood.
Is it safe to receive blood?
Yes. The blood supply is the safest it's ever
been, especially since the implementation of nucleic acid-amplification
testing (NAT) under an FDA-sponsored research protocol. NAT is a
more sensitive gene-based test to screen the blood supply for HIV
and hepatitis C. Fourteen tests are performed on every unit of donated
blood. Eleven of these are for infectious diseases.
General safety procedures are also in place: blood donor eligibility
standards, individual screening, laboratory testing, confidential
exclusion of donations and donor record checks.
What is the universal blood type?
Type O negative is the universal donor and
can give blood to any other blood type. Eight percent of the U.S.
population has blood type O negative.
AB positive is the universal recipient and
can receive blood from any other blood type. Two and a half percent
of the U.S. population has blood type AB positive.
How long until my blood is used?
All blood donations are processed and available
for use between 24 and 48 hours. Whole blood is processed into components
(red cells, platelets, plasma). After processing, the red cells
can be stored for 42 days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up
to 12 months. Platelets (from whole blood or by apheresis) expire
after five days.
Are the health history questions necessary
Yes. Screening questions must be asked of
all donors at each donation. This is an FDA requirement that helps
blood centers ensure the safest possible blood supply.
Do ABC members pay donors for giving blood?
America's Blood Centers members are volunteer
donor supported organizations.
They do not pay for blood donations. FDA rules say that blood used
for transfusions cannot be "bought." Studies show that
volunteer donors provide a safer blood supply.
Why do blood shortages occur?
A three-day supply is the optimum blood inventory
level. The inventory changes hourly due to unpredictable demands
from trauma incidents. When the supply drops below a three-day level,
blood centers begin alerting local donors to increase the inventory
to a safe operating level.