16 Year Old Donors

Many teens have expressed an interest in donating blood, and in March, 2008, legislation was passed in South Carolina permitting 16 year olds to donate with written, parental permission. On December 1, 2008 The Blood Connection began accepting donations from 16 year olds. South Carolina joins 28 other states currently collecting donations from this age group. Several states have been accepting blood donations from 16 year olds for years. In fact, Washington has been allowing teens to donate for more than 30 years!

Lowering the donation age to 16 helps strengthen the community blood supply, and for many teens, donating blood is a way to express maturity and civic responsibility. The State of South Carolina requires 16 year olds to have written parental or legal guardian consent to donate blood. The Blood Connection is required by law to collect parental consent forms from all 16 year old donors. In addition to written consent, 16 year olds will be expected to present a government-issued document listing birth date, preferably a photo ID.During High School blood drives, eligible student rosters (provided by the school) will be considered acceptable sources of age verification. TO DOWNLOAD YOUR CONSENT FORM CLICK HERE.

Someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. On average, 45 units of blood are used for a trauma-related injury. One unit of blood can help save up to three lives. Giving blood is a good thing to do for your community.

What makes an ideal donor?

  • General good health
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • At least 16 years of age (with written parental consent)
  • Satisfied by a meal
  • Well-hydrated

Does The Blood Connection require both 16 and 17 year olds to have parental consent?

The State of South Carolina requires 16 year olds to have written parental or legal guardian consent to donate blood. The Blood Connection is required by law to collect parental consent forms from all 16 year old donors. 17 year olds are not required to have consent. Parental consent is a one-time requirement.

In addition to written consent, 16 year olds will be expected to present a government-issued document listing birth date, preferably a photo ID. During High School blood drives, eligible student rosters (provided by the school) will be considered acceptable sources of age verification.

How can I obtain a parental consent form?

Parental consent forms are available at each of The Blood Connection donation centers or can be downloaded by clicking here.

Why is The Blood Connection now collecting blood from 16 year olds?

Many students have expressed the desire to donate blood to help save lives. Lowering the age to 16 helps strengthen the blood supply, and legislation has been passed that allows 16 year olds to participate in the donation process.

Do other states allow 16 year olds to donate?

Yes! Currently, more than 30 states are collecting donations from 16 year olds. Several states have been accepting blood donations from 16 year olds for years. In fact, Washington has been allowing 16 year olds to donate for more than 30 years!

Are there any instructions I should follow prior to donating?

It’s simple. Get a good night’s sleep, have a solid meal before you donate, and drink plenty of liquids. The Blood Connection recommends that donors drink 12 to 16 ounces of water both before and after donating to maintain hydration levels. These easy steps may help to reduce an adverse reaction such as light-headedness, fainting, and nausea.

What defers a blood donor?

  • Suffering from a cold, sore throat, cough or fever
  • Pregnancy
  • A blood transfusion in the last year, unless it was with your own blood
  • Recent surgery
  • Hepatitis after the age of eleven
  • An active cold sore

What can a teen expect when donating blood?

The complete donation process will take about 45 minutes.

  • First, a donor registration form will be completed.
  • Then one of TBC’s staff will take donor blood pressure, test hemoglobin and yes or no questions regarding donor medical history.
  • The actual donation will only take five to ten minutes. During this process the donor will be asked to squeeze a ball to keep blood flowing.
  • Refreshments will be provided while briefly resting after donating.

Once I donate, how long will it take my body to replenish the blood?

The body replaces plasma in 48 hours. It will take four to eight weeks for the body to replace the red blood cells that are donated.

After I donate, what happens to my blood?

Each donation is tested to detect various diseases including: HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and the West Nile Virus. If there are any abnormal results the donor will be notified. In the case of a 16 year old donor, parents will also be notified. At The Blood Connection lab, the unit of blood will be processed into components of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

How long will my blood last?

Red blood cells can be stored for 42 days, and platelets can be stored for 5 days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for a year.

How often can I donate blood?

A whole blood donation can be made every 56 days or eight weeks