Blood Donation FAQs
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Please Select a Topic:
How long does it take to give blood?
How much blood is taken?
How often can I give?
What are platelets?
How much blood do I have in my body?
Are there age limits for blood donors?
Is it safe to give blood?
Is it safe to receive blood?
What if I am a Jehovah's Witness?
What is the universal blood type?
How long until my blood is used?
Are health history questions necessary every time?
Do America's Bloo Centers' members pay donors for giving blood?
Why do blood shortages occur?
Is America's Blood Centers affiliated with the Red Cross?
The process for whole blood donation usually takes about one hour. The blood collection itself is usually about 10 minutes. The donation process includes registration, a brief medical screening, blood collection and refreshments. Expect to spend about two hours for apheresis (platelet) collections.
Whole blood and apheresis (platelet) donations are about 1 pint. One pint is roughly equal to 1 pound.
Donate whole blood every 56 days. Red blood cells are the oxygen carrying cells. They can take two weeks or longer to fully return to normal.
Donate platelets (apheresis donation) as much as twice in one week – or up to 24 times per year. Platelet and plasma components are replaced in the body more quickly than red cells. Platelets will return to normal levels within a few hours of donating. Plasma, the watery substance of your blood, takes a couple of days.
Platelets are tiny cell fragments that circulate throughout the blood and aid in blood clotting. Platelets are also known as thrombocytes.
Women have about 10 pints, and men about 12 pints of blood in their bodies.
Seventeen years old is the minimum blood donor age. (In some states, 16-year-olds may donate.) There is no upper age limit.
Yes. Donating blood is 100 percent safe. You cannot get HIV or any other infectious disease from donating blood.
Yes. The blood supply is the safest it's ever been, especially since the implementation of nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) under an FDA-sponsored research protocol. NAT is a more sensitive gene-based test to screen the blood supply for HIV and hepatitis C. Thirteen tests (11 for infectious diseases) are performed on each unit of donated blood.
General safety procedures are also in place: blood donor eligibility standards, individual screening, laboratory testing, confidential exclusion of donations and donor record checks.
If you have questions regarding blood donation and the Jehovah's Witness faith, please contact the:
Hospital Liaison Committee Network
Hospital Information Services for Jehovah's Witnesses (24-hour service)
25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11201; Tel: (718) 560-4300
What is the universal blood type?
Type O negative is the universal donor and can give blood to any other blood type. Eight percent of the U.S. population has blood type O negative.
AB positive is the universal recipient and can receive blood from any other blood type. Two and a half percent of the U.S. population has blood type AB positive.
All blood donations are processed and available for use between 24 and 48 hours. Whole blood is processed into components (red cells, platelets, plasma). After processing, the red cells can be stored for 42 days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to 12 months. Platelets (from whole blood or by apheresis) expire after five days.
Yes. Screening questions must be asked of all donors at each donation. This is an FDA requirement that helps blood centers ensure the safest possible blood supply.
America's Blood Centers members are volunteer donor supported organizations. They do not pay for blood donations. FDA rules say that blood used for transfusions cannot be "bought." Studies show that volunteer donors provide a safer blood supply.
A three-day supply is the optimum blood inventory level. The inventory changes hourly due to unpredictable demands from trauma incidents. When the supply drops below a three-day level, blood centers begin alerting local donors to increase the inventory to a safe operating level.
No. Founded in 1962, America’s Blood Centers is North America’s largest network of community-based, independent blood programs. Recognized by the U.S. Congress for its critical work in patient care and disaster preparedness and response, the federation provides nearly half of the U.S. blood supply and operates more than 600 blood donor centers.
These blood centers serve more than 180 million people and provide blood products and services to more than 3,500 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America. America’s Blood Centers’ U.S. members are licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Canadian members are regulated by Health Canada.
Our members were first to respond to national tragedies like Oklahoma City, Columbine and 9/11.