Donation Process


Series of Questions

You will be asked yes-or-no questions regarding your medical history. Honest and accurate answers are very important for those receiving blood.


Allow approximately 45 minutes for your visit. However, the whole blood donation process only takes about 10-15 minutes.


Each donation is tested to detect various diseases and are then processed in the lab into components of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.


Donated blood products are divided into three main utilization categories and are provided to healthcare partners, pharmaceutical derivative manufacturers, and to blood reagent manufacturers.

Save A Life

Every whole blood donation can save up to 3 lives! Your donation is critical to maintaining a consistent community blood supply, and your donation directly affects those in our area.










Save A Life

You will receive your Donor Identification card by mail within 4-5 weeks of your first donation.

Common Questions

Why donate?

One whole blood donation can save up to 3 lives! Someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds, and one in ten patients entering a hospital will need blood. Over 500 people need to donate every day to meet the daily needs of the hospitals we serve and be prepared for emergencies. In order to collect the units needed, The Blood Connection must screen between 550-600 people a day for blood, platelet, plasma and double red cell units. Blood is good for only 42 days, so donors are needed every day to ensure a stable blood supply.

Passing on life to those with life-threatening conditions such as:

  • Cancer
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Emergencies such as car accidents and burns

How Much Does it Take to Save Lives?

  • Automobile Accident: 50 units of blood
  • Heart Surgery: 6 units of blood, 6 units of platelets
  • Organ Transplant: 40 units of blood, 30 units of platelets, 20 bags of cryoprecipitate, 25 units of fresh frozen plasma
  • Bone Marrow Transplant: 120 units of platelets, 20 units of blood
  • Burn: 20 units of platelets

Who do I help?

Your donation is most used to treat those with life threatening illnesses such as:

  • Cancer
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Blood disorders
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Disease of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Severe infection or liver disease
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Diseases that cause anemia (bleeding disorders)

Your blood will also help those who have been subject to:

  • Emergencies such as car accidents and burns
  • Surgery
  • Natural disaster
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bloodborne infections


Is it safe to give blood?

The blood supply in the United States is 99.99% safe. The risk of HIV transmission has been nearly eliminated, and the risk of hepatitis transmission greatly reduced thanks to multiple levels of safeguards, including:

  • Comprehensive evaluation of donors’ medical and social history to exclude donors who may be carriers of infectious agents
  • Physical examination of the donor
  • Strict donation procedures using sterile supplies
  • Laboratory testing to detect infectious diseases as soon as possible

Safety procedures are followed by all blood centers nationwide and are monitored under the regulatory guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As new diseases, such as Creutfeldt-Jakob (human form of mad-cow disease) or West Nile Virus threaten the safety of the blood supply, the FDA issues new screening guidelines to reduce the risk of accepting an infected donor, or a new lab test is developed. The qualifications to be an acceptable donor frequently change, which helps increase the safety of the blood supply.

Only volunteers are permitted to donate blood. Studies prove community volunteers are the safest source of blood for transfusion. Every donor completes a health history questionnaire and a screening interview to identify behaviors that indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne disease. Strict confidentiality encourages honest answers, which helps The Blood Connection accept the healthiest, lowest-risk donors.

Every time someone donates blood, his or her blood is tested for evidence of infectious disease, including hepatitis B and C; HIV 1 and 2; HTLV I and II; syphilis; and West Nile Virus. The donor’s blood type is also determined. Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded. The donor is notified not to donate blood again, and to seek medical attention if appropriate.

What are the benefits?

First and foremost, you’re saving lives! Only you can give the precious gift of life – it’s free to give – and we all possess this gift. Donating promotes cell replenishment, burns calories and lowers the risk of heart disease. Giving also allows us to connect with others.

Blood Connection donors are also TBC Rewards members, allowing them to view their profile, see their eligibility date, redeem donor points online and choose e-card rewards as a thank you for their donation(s).


What is the difference between donating Whole Blood, Platelets, and Plasma?

Whole Blood

Whole Blood consists of three components: red blood cells, platelets and plasma, all of which are collected during the whole blood donation process. A needle will be placed in your arm to remove approximately one pint of your blood. The blood will flow through the tubing attached to the needle into a collection system. The process will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Your body will replace the liquid part of your blood (called plasma) in just a few hours, and the blood cells will be replaced within a few weeks. Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days. Each donation can save up to three lives. They may not know you by name, but they’ll always remember your gift. With only one hour of your time, you can give a lifetime.

Red Cell and Plasma Apheresis*

Just as in whole blood donation, a needle is inserted in a donor’s arm. Blood is drawn or collected through closed sterile tubing that passes through a centrifuge, which separates plasma from the whole blood. The plasma is collected in a sterile collection bag and almost all red cells and platelets are returned to the donor via the same needle. New sterile tubing and collection bags are used for each donor. You are never exposed to the blood of any other donor. The process will take approximately 45 minutes. You can safely donate plasma every 28 days.

Platelet Apheresis

Plateletpheresis (pronounced Plate-let-fer-E-sis) is the process of collecting platelets from a donor. Using a system the platelets are collected, and the plasma and red blood cells are returned to the donor. Just as in whole blood donation, a needle is inserted in a donor’s arm. Blood is drawn or collected through closed sterile tubing that passes through a centrifuge, which separates platelets from the whole blood. The platelets are collected in a sterile collection bag with almost all red cells and plasma returned to the donor via the same needle. New sterile tubing and collection bags are used for each donor. You are never exposed to the blood of any other donor.

You only have to wait 7 days before you can give whole blood after donating platelets since very few red blood cells (approximately 32 milliliters) are lost during a platelet donation. However, if you donate whole blood first, you must wait 56 days before you can donate platelets or any other blood product due to the fact that you lose approximately 200 milliliters of red blood cells during whole blood donations. The actual platelet donation time takes between 1 to 1.5 hours. This depends on the donor’s platelet count, and total blood volume.

*Apheresis (automated donation) is a type of blood donation during which blood components (platelets, plasma, or red blood cells) are donated. This is different than donating whole blood. The automated collection system used at TBC allows for any combination of platelets, plasma, or red blood cell units to be donated. Plasmapheresis is the process of collecting plasma from a donor. Using a system, the plasma is collected, and the platelets and red blood cells are returned to the donor.

Am I eligible to donate blood?

Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old (16 years old with written parental consent), and weigh at least 110 pounds. Specific eligibility criteria are based on FDA regulations, and change periodically. When you come in to donate, our trained staff will conduct a detailed interview to determine if you are eligible.

To determine eligibility to donate we will:

  • Ask questions about your health, travel, and medicines.
  • Ask questions to determine if you might be at risk for transfusion transmissible diseases.
  • Take donor blood pressure and temperature.
  • Take a small blood sample to ensure you are not anemic.

Do NOT donate if you:

  • Have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test.
  • Have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by a doctor.
  • Have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977.
  • Have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above.
  • Have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months.
  • Have been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail or prison for more than 72 hours in the last 12 months.
  • Have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS:
  1. Unexplained weight loss or night sweats.
  2. Blue or purple spots in the mouth or on your skin.
  3. Swollen lymph nodes for more than one month.
  4. White spots or unusual spots in your mouth.
  5. Cough that won’t go away or shortness of breath.
  6. Diarrhea that won’t go away.
  7. Fever of more than 100.5 degrees F for more than 10 days.

Questions About Eligibility: Certain health conditions or medication may temporarily or permanently prevent you from donating blood.  If you have questions, call 864-255-5005, ext. 3212.

How often can I donate?

  • Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days.
  • Plasma donors can donate every 28 days.
  • Platelet donors can donate every 7 days.

What should I bring with me?

  • Bring your Donor ID card (preferred) or drivers license
  • A list of your current medications (if applicable)
  • A friend!

Can I schedule regular donations?

Yes. You can make an appointment online, or contact donor services to schedule regular donations.

How long does it take?

Depending on the product you’re donating, time can vary from 10-15 minutes (whole blood), 45 minutes for red cell or plasma apheresis, and 1-2 hours for platelet apheresis.

What do I do before my donation?

Eat a good meal, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s rest.

What do I do after my donation?

  • Drink plenty of water and have a snack before leaving the donation location.
  • Refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol for at least two hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids for the next 24 hours.
  • Sit or lie down if dizziness occurs.
  • If you believe your blood should not be given to another person call the Donor Self-Exclusion Hotline 1.800.392.6551 ext. 1099