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Blood Donation & Donor FAQs

Arm of blood donorWhy should I become a blood donor?

There is no substitute for blood. People are the only source - volunteer donors like yourself. Your pint of blood may save the life of a patient in need.

Will it hurt?

No. You may feel a slight sting in the beginning lasting only a couple of seconds, but there should be no discomfort during the donation.

Are blood donors paid?

No, all blood collected for transfusion in the U.S. is given by volunteer blood donors.

Can I still donate if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, if your blood pressure in under control and within the limits set in the donation guidelines.

What if I'm taking aspirin or medication prescribed by my doctor?

Aspirin and ibuprofen will not affect a whole blood donation. Apheresis platelet donors, however, must not take aspirin or aspirin products 48 hours prior to donation. Many other medications are acceptable. It is recommended that you call the donor center ahead of time to inquire about medications you have a question about.

What if I have anemia?

You cannot give blood if you have anemia. However, this can often be a temporary condition. Your hemoglobin will be tested before you donate to make sure it is at an acceptable level.

What types of tests are performed on donated blood?

After blood is drawn, it is tested for ABO group (blood type) and RH type (positive or negative), as well as for any unexpected Red Blood Cell antibodies that may cause problems for the recipient. Screening tests performed are listed below:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg)
  • Hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc)
  • Hepatitis C virus antibody (anti - HCV)
  • HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody (anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2)
  • HIV p24 antigen
  • HTLV-I and HTLV-II antibody (anti-HTLV-I and anti-HTLV-II)
  • Serologic test for syphilis
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAT)

What are the minimum requirements to become a blood donor?

  • 17 years of age
  • Minimum 110 pounds
  • Basic good health

How often can I donate blood?

Whole blood can be donated once every 8 weeks. Apheresis platelets can be donated once every 3 days.

How long does it take to replenish my blood after a donation?

Your body replenishes the fluid lost from donation within 24 hours. It may take up to two months to replace to lost Red Blood Cells.

Is there anything I should do before I donate?

Be sure to eat well at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluids.

How will I feel after I donate?

Most people feel great after giving blood. If you feel any abnormal symptoms, let a staff member know. You should avoid lifting heavy objects or strenuous exercise for the next 24 hours; otherwise you can resume full activity as long as you feel well.