The Donation Process
Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old (16 years old with written parental consent), and weigh at least 110 pounds. TBC donor ID card (preferred) or photo ID is required to donate.
To determine eligibility to donate we will:
- Ask questions about health and travel.
- Ask about medicines you are taking or have taken.
- Ask about your risk for infections that can be transmitted by blood – AIDS and viral hepatitis.
- Take donor blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
- Take a blood sample to be sure your blood count is acceptable.
If you are able to donate we will:
- Cleanse your arm with an antiseptic (please tell us if you have any skin allergies).
- Use a new, sterile, disposable needle to collect your blood.
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
The apheresis process allows us to remove only a portion of your blood (platelets, plasma, red cells, or white blood cells). A needle will be placed in your arm. Blood will flow through the tubing attached to the needle into a system that will collect the desired component. The remainder of your blood will be returned to you through the same arm. The process will take 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the component(s) you are donating.
Your body will replace the liquid part of your blood (called plasma) in just a few hours. The platelets and white blood cells will be replaced within 48 to 72 hours. If you donate red cells by automation alone, or with platelets and plasma, the red cells will be replaced within a few weeks.
The acceptable frequency for automated donations depends on the component(s) being collected at each donation. In general, the following intervals apply:
- Platelet donation: once in a 7-day period and no more than 24 times in a rolling 12-month period
- 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
All donors are subject to maximum red cell and plasma loss limits for a rolling 12-month period. These limits are determined by the Food and Drug Administration and The Blood Connection medical staff.
What Happens After Donation
To protect patients, your blood is tested for several types of hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other infections. If your blood tests positive it will not be given to a patient. There are times when your blood is not tested. If this occurs, you may not receive any notification. You will be notified about any positive test result which may disqualify you from donating in the future. The blood center will not release your test results without your written permissions unless required by law (e.g. to the Health Department).
Making Your Blood Donation Safe
Your complete honesty and accuracy in answering all questions are very important for the safety of patients who receive your blood. Thank you for your careful answers to the questions you will be asked. All information you provide is confidential.
Donor Eligibility – Specific Information
Travel to (or Birth in) Other Countries
Blood donor tests may not be available for some transmissible diseases that are found only in certain countries. If you were born in, have lived in, or visited certain countries, you may not be eligible to donate.
Certain diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis, can be spread through sexual contact and enter your bloodstream. We will ask specific questions about sexual contact.
What do we mean by sexual contact?
The word(s) “have sexual contact with” and “sex” are used in some of the questions we will ask you, and apply to any of the activities below, whether or not a condom or other protection was used:
- Vaginal sex (contact between penis and vagina).
- Oral sex (mouth or tongue on someone’s vagina, penis, or anus).
- Anal sex (contact between penis and anus).
HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors and Symptoms
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It is spread mainly by sexual contact with an infected person OR by sharing needles or syringes used by an infected person for injecting drugs.
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.
- Are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS.
- Have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex.
- 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 PAST 12 MONTHS.
Your blood can transmit infections, including HIV/AIDS, even if you feel well and all your tests are normal. This is because even the best tests cannot detect the virus for a period of time after you are infected.
DO NOT donate to get a test! If you think you may be at risk for HIV/AIDS or any other infection, do not donate simply to get a test. Ask us where you can be tested outside the blood center.
The following symptoms can be present before an HIV test turns positive:
- Enlarged lymph glands
- Sore throat
DO NOT donate if you have these symptoms!
Please DO NOT DONATE BLOOD if you have EVER had Ebola virus disease or infection.
Confidentiality of Screening and Test Results
Blood centers are required to keep a confidential list of names whose blood might be harmful to patients. If medical history or blood test results are unclear or if they show that a donor’s blood might make someone sick, his name will be placed on this list. This list is strictly confidential.
If you believe your blood should not be given to another person call the Donor Self-Exclusion Hotline 1.800.392.6551 ext. 1099
TBC uses a single-use sterile collection kit for each donor.