Common Questions

What can I expect as a blood donor?

  • Allow approximately 45 minutes for your visit. However, the blood donation process only takes 10-15 minutes.
  • You will be asked yes-or-no questions regarding your medical history.
  • Your blood pressure, temperature, and hemoglobin level will be checked to determine your eligibility to donate.
  • Refreshments will be provided during a brief 10 minute rest period after your donation.

Blood donors should:

  • Be in generally good health
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be at least 17 years of age (16 years old with written parental consent)
  • Have eaten a solid meal
  • Be well hydrated

A blood donor is deferred if he or she:

  • Is suffering from cold symptoms such as sore throat, cough or fever
  • Is pregnant (or until six weeks after delivery)
  • Has had a blood transfusion in the past year (unless with their own blood)
  • Has an active infection or cold sore
  • Has had a heart attack or heart surgery within the past year
  • Has had malaria in the past 3 years or has lived in a malarial region within the past 5 consecutive years
  • Has visited a malarial region within the past year
  • Has had hepatitis at any time after the age of 11

Your blood is tested for transfusion transmissible diseases.

What are the donation types?

The Blood Connection accepts whole blood and apheresis (or automated) donations. This includes whole blood, red cell or plasma apheresis, platelet apheresis and sub-categories of those products.

Whole Blood Donation

When donating whole blood, 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

Apheresis (Automated) Donation

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. How is it different from donating whole blood? Whole blood is drawn from one arm and collected through a sterile, disposable kit connected to the automated system. A small amount of the needed component or components (platelets, plasma, and/or red blood cells) is collected from the whole blood with the remaining components returned to the donor. Automated donations take longer than whole blood donations. Platelets take one to two hours to donate, plasma takes about an hour, and red blood cells take about 30 minutes.

How long does it take?

Allow approximately 45 minutes for your visit if you are donating whole blood; however, the blood donation process only takes 10-15 minutes. The actual platelet donation time takes between 1 to 1.5 hours. This depends on the donor’s platelet count, and total blood volume.

What will I do during my donation?

Most donors watch videos. Others prefer to listen to music, look out the window, or just enjoy the company of our friendly, professional staff.

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.

How will I feel after I donate?

You will feel great about giving others a fighting chance at life. Physically, you should feel perfectly fine. Only a small percentage of your platelets are collected, and are replaced within 24 hours. You should not feel tired or lightheaded since you lose such a small amount of red blood cells. Try to avoid strenuous exercise or lifting after donating.

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?

  • Whole blood donation: every 56 days (8 weeks)
  • Platelet donation: once in a 7-day period and no more than 24 times in a rolling calendar year
  • Plasma donation: every 28 days
  • Red cell donation in conjunction with another component: every 56 days (8 weeks)
  • Double red cell donation: every 16 weeks