5 Simple Steps
Whether you donate blood at a mobile drive or at a neighborhood blood donation center, your experience will involve the same steps.
To help protect everyone who enters our doors:
- Face masks are a mandatory requirement while within our donation centers and blood drives.
- Please do not remove your mask at any time during the donation process.
- We ask that you clean or sanitize your hands and maintain a 6 feet distance from one another.
- Watch our COVID-19 & blood donation FAQ series here.
Step 1: Registration
When you walk in, we ask donors for general information, such as name and address. In order to maintain accurate records, all donors are asked to present proper photo identification. This may be a driver’s license, passport, or even a company ID card.
Step 2: Mini-Physical
During the mini-physical, we check temperature, pulse, hemoglobin, and blood pressure. We draw and test a drop of blood to ensure the donor has enough iron-carrying red blood cells to safely donate blood.
Step 3: Medical Interview
Donors meet privately with a staff member to review their medical and travel history. We will also ask about tattoos and piercings. This information is kept strictly confidential.
Step 4: The Donation
In the donation area, a trained phlebotomist will sterilize the area of the arm before drawing blood. Since each donation kit is a one-time use sealed kit, there is ZERO chance of coming into contact with another donor’s blood. The donation time will vary depending on the type of donation you are making.
Types of donations:
- Whole blood - Anyone from the tiniest of preemies in a hospital’s neonatal unit, to elderly patients suffering from a blood disorder, all need whole blood. A whole blood donation can take about 15-30 minutes, and can be made every 56 days. With each donation you are potentially saving the lives of up to three lives. All blood types are needed.
- Platelet - Platelets are needed by leukemia and cancer patients, those undergoing cardiac surgery, burn victims, and people with bleeding disorders. Approximately 12 million units of platelets are transfused in the US each year. Platelets can only be stored for five days after donation. The platelets you donate are usually replaced within about 24 hours, which is why you can donate every two weeks. Platelet donation takes approximately 2 hours. Types A+, B+, AB+ are needed.
- Double Red Cell - Red blood cells are the most needed blood component. About 14 million units are transfused every year in the US. They are often the difference between life and death for trauma victims and those undergoing surgery. People with anemia, low hematocrit levels due to cancer or kidney diseases, and sickle cell disease also need red blood cells. More lives will be saved because two units can be safely collected at one donation. A double red cell donation typically takes 30 minutes, and can be done every 112 days. Types O+, O-, A-, B- are needed.
Step 5: Refreshments and Relaxation
After the donation, you'll visit the refreshment area, where you rest while enjoying light refreshments. You can also make your next donation appointment before you leave.