Donation Process FAQs
How much blood is donated each year?
What are the criteria for blood donation?
What should you do before donating?
How does the donation process work?
- You will be asked to register by either filling out a form or showing your donor card.
- You will be asked to answer some questions and read some information.
- You will be taken in a confidential room where you will receive a mini health-exam and asked some more questions.
- You will proceed to donor bed where your arm will be cleaned with an antiseptic.
- Your blood will be drawn (the length of time depend on what procedure you choose).
- Following you donation you will receive refreshments.
Where is blood donated?
Who should not donate blood?
- Anyone who has ever used intravenous drugs (illegal IV drugs)
- Men who have had sexual contact with other men since 1977
- Anyone who has ever received clotting factor concentrates
- Anyone with a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus)
- Men and women who have engaged in sex for money or drugs since 1977
- Anyone who has had hepatitis since his or her eleventh birthday
- Anyone who has had Babesiosis or Chagas disease
- Anyone who has taken Tegison for psoriasis
- Anyone who has risk factors for Crueutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or who has an immediate family member with CJD
- Anyone who has risk factors for vCJD
- Anyone who spent three months or more in the United Kingdom from 1980 through 1996
- Anyone who has spent five years in Europe from 1980 to the present
What can you do if you aren’t eligible to donate?
What is Apheresis?
The word apheresis is derived from the Greek work “Aphaerisis” meaning “to take away”. Apheresis, an increasingly common procedure, is the process of removing a specific component of the blood, such as platelets, and returning the remaining components, such as red blood cells and plasma, to the donor. This process allows more of one particular part of the blood to be collected than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Apheresis is also performed to collect red blood cells, plasma (liquid part of the blood), and granulocytes (white blood cells).
The apheresis donation procedure takes longer than that for whole blood donation. A whole blood donation takes about 10–15 minutes to collect the blood, while an apheresis donation may take about one to two hours.
Who needs blood?
What are the components of blood used to treat?
When you come to donate a unit of blood, that unit is not kept in its whole blood form. The unit is centrifuged at high speeds to separate the constituent components from each other. Since red blood cells are the heaviest, they sink to the bottom of the bag. The platelet rich plasma and cryoprecipitate factors settle near the middle of the bag. Each of these components are separated into different bags for treatment as follows:
- Red Blood Cells: Used to increase red cell mass after surgery, to treat patients with anemia. Red cells are stored under refrigeration for up to 42 days, or they may be frozen for up to 10 years.
- Fresh Frozen Plasma: Used to treat clotting disorders, expand blood volume, to treat shock due to plasma loss in burns. FFP is frozen shortly after collection and is stored up to one year.
- Platelets: Used to treat bleeding due to platelet shortage or to treat platelet function abnormalities. Platelets are stored at room temperature with constant agitation for up to 5 days.
- Cryoprecipitate: Used to treat Hemophilia A, Von Willebrand’s disease, and other clotting factor deficiencies. Cryo is made from FFP and may be stored frozen up to one year.
- White Blood Cells: Used to treat patients who cannot produce enough white cells, due to disease or cancer treatment or are unresponsive to antibiotic therapy. They must be transfused within 24 hours after collection.
- Immune Globulin: Given to help fight infectious diseases such as hepatitis.
- Albumin: Used to treat people in shock, and also used in plasma exchanges for seriously ill patients.
One unit of whole blood can help save as many three lives.
How much blood can a patient use?
It is difficult to put an exact figure on each type of procedure or illness, but listed below are general estimates for the top blood using events:
- Hip Replacement Surgery - 3 to 4 Units
- Leukemia Treatment - 6 to 8 Units
- Stab Wound Treatment - 6 to 12 Units
- Heart Surgery - 6 to 12 Units
- Gastro-Intestinal Bleeding - 5 to 50 Units
- Aortic/Abdominal Aneurysm - 5 to 50 Units
- Traumatic Organ Damage - 10 to 100 Units
- Liver Transplant - 30 to 150 Units
Is it safe to donate blood?
What tests are performed on donated blood?
After blood has been 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 in a recipient. Screening tests also are performed for evidence of donor infection with hepatitis B and C viruses, human immunodeficiency viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2, human T-lymphotropic viruses HTLV-I and HTLV-II, syphilis and West Nile Virus (WNV).
- The specific tests currently 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
- HTLV-I and HTLV-II antibody anti-HTLV-I and anti-HTLV-II
- Serologic test for syphilis
- Nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) for HIV-1 and HCV
- NAT for WNV
What is NAT?
General Information About Blood
What Is Blood?
Blood is made of four components:
- Plasma is a mixture of water, sugar, fat, protein, and potassium and calcium salts. It also contains many chemicals that help form the blood clots necessary to stop bleeding. More than 92% of plasma is water. Our blood consists of 55% plasma.
- Red blood cells contain a special protein called hemoglobin, which carries the oxygen we inhale with our lungs to all of the parts of our bodies. It then returns carbon dioxide from our body to our lungs so we can exhale it. Hemoglobin is also responsible for making red blood cells red. We have so many red blood cells that our blood itself appears red, even though it contains more than red blood cells.
- White blood cells are clear round cells that are bigger than red blood cells. White blood cells produce proteins called antibodies that help our bodies fight infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and foreign proteins.
- Platelets aren’t really cells at all; they are just fragments of cells. When we are injured, platelets gather at the site of the injury and stick to the edges of the wound. They release chemicals that help start the process of blood clotting so that bleeding will stop.
How much blood is in the body?
About 8 percent of a person’s weight is blood. The amount of blood varies according to height and weight, but an average man has about 12 pints of blood, and the average woman has about 9 pints.
What does “blood type” mean?
There are two systems that make up blood type, ABO and Rh. All people belong to one of four inherited blood groups: A, B, AB or O. The letters A and B refer to the kind of antigens that are found on an individual’s red blood cells. An antigen is a protein or carbohydrate on the red cell that triggers an immune response, such as the formation of antibodies. There are four blood types in the ABO system:
- Group A: Blood has A antigen on red cells, and anti-B antibody in the plasma
- Group B: Blood has B antigen on the red cells, and anti-A antibody in the plasma
- Group AB: Blood has both A and B antigens on red cells but neither anti-A antibody nor anti-B antibody in the plasma. Since they lack anti-A and anti-B antigens, persons with AB blood are called universal donors for plasma.
- Group O: Blood has neither A or B antigens on red cells, but both anti-A and anti-B antibodies are in the plasma. Since their red blood cells lack A and B antigens, persons with Group O are called universal donors for red blood cell units.
People also have an inherited antigen on their red blood cells known as Rh or D antigen. When the D antigen is present, a person’s blood is designated Rh positive. When D antigen is missing, the blood type is designated Rh negative. In general, Rh negative is given to Rh negative patients and Rh positive blood to Rh positive patients.
What are the blood types and their percentages?
O positive - 37.4% of population. 1 person in 3
A positive - 35.7% of population. 1 person in 3
B positive - 8.5% of population. 1 person in 12
O negative - 6.6% of population. 1 person in 15
A negative - 6.3% of population. 1 person in 16
AB positive - 3.4% of population. 1 person in 29
B negative - 1.5% of population. 1 person in 67
AB negative - 0.6% of population. 1 person in 167