Blood Donation - Mayo Clinic (2023)


Donating blood is a voluntary process that can help save lives. There are different types of blood donation. Each type helps meet different medical needs.

donating whole blood

Donating whole blood is the most common type of blood donation. During this donation, you give about a pint (about half a pint) of whole blood. The blood is then separated into its components - red blood cells, plasma and sometimes platelets.


During the removal, you are hooked up to a machine that collects and separates the different parts of your blood. These blood components include red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. The machine then returns the remaining portions of blood to you.

  • Platelet donation (platelet transfusion)only collects platelets. Platelets are cells that help stop bleeding by sticking together and forming plugs in blood vessels (thrombosis).

    Platelet donors are usually given to people with blood clotting problems or cancer and to people who are going to have organ transplants or major surgery.

  • Double donation of red blood cellsallows you to donate a concentrated amount of red blood cells. Red blood cells supply oxygen to organs and tissues.

    Donated red blood cells are usually given to people who have severe blood loss, such as after an injury or accident, and to people who have anemia (low hemoglobin levels).

  • Plasma donation (plasmapheresis)collects the liquid part of the blood (plasma). Plasma helps blood to clot and contains antibodies that help fight infections.

    Plasma is commonly given to people in emergency and trauma situations to stop bleeding.

Why did this happen?

You agree to have your blood collected so that it can be given to someone who needs a blood transfusion.

Every year, millions of people need a blood transfusion. Some may need blood during surgery. Others rely on it after an accident or because of an illness that requires certain parts of the blood. Donating blood makes everything possible. There is no substitute for human blood - all transfusions use blood from a donor.


Donating blood is safe. New, sterile and disposable equipment is used for each donor, so that there is no risk of blood contamination through blood donation.

Most healthy adults can safely donate half a pint (about half a pint) without any health risk. A few days after donating blood, the body replaces lost fluids. And after two weeks, your body replaces the lost red blood cells.

How are you preparing?

eligibility requirements

To be eligible to donate whole blood, plasma or platelets, you must:

  • In good health.
  • At least 16 or 17, depending on your state's law. Some states allow minors to donate blood with parental consent. While there is no legal upper age limit, policies may vary from donor center to donor center.
  • At least 110 pounds (about 50 kg).
  • May go through physical assessments and health history.

Eligibility requirements vary slightly depending on the type of blood donation.

food and drugs

Antes de just sangue:

  • Get a good night's sleep the night before you plan to donate blood.
  • Eat a healthy meal before donating blood. Avoid fatty foods like hamburgers, fries and ice cream.
  • Drink plenty of water before donating blood.
  • Check to see if any medications you are taking or have recently taken prevent you from donating blood. For example, if you are a platelet donor, you should not take aspirin for two days before donating. Talk to a member of the healthcare team before stopping your blood donation medication.
  • Wear a shirt with sleeves that can be rolled up.

what can you expect

before the procedure

Before you can donate blood, you will be asked to complete a confidential medical history. Includes questions about behaviors known to increase the risk of bloodborne infections - bloodborne infections.

Due to the risk of blood-borne infections, not everyone can donate blood. Here are the groups that are not eligible to donate blood:

  • Anyone who has used an injection drug, steroid, or other substance not prescribed by a healthcare professional in the last three months
  • Men who have had sex with other men in the past three months
  • Anyone with congenital clotting factor deficiency
  • who tested positive forHIV
  • Anyone who has had sex for money or drugs in the past three months
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with – lived with or had sex with – anyone who has viral hepatitis in the past 12 months
  • Anyone who has ever had babesiosis, a rare and serious tick-borne disease, or a parasitic infection, Chagas disease

You will also have a brief physical exam. The exam includes checking blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. A small blood sample is taken from a finger prick and used to check the part of the blood that carries oxygen (hemoglobin level). If your hemoglobin is within the healthy range and you meet all other screening requirements, you can donate blood.

concerns about COVID-19

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has not been shown to be transmitted by blood transfusions. However, the US Food and Drug Administration suggests delaying blood donation for at least 10 days after a positive diagnostic test.COVID 19no symptoms or for at least 10 days after symptom onsetCOVID 19completely disappeared.

People who test positive forCOVID 19Antibodies who have not undergone a diagnostic test and never develop symptoms may be donors with no waiting period or no diagnostic testing prior to donation.

If you get a non-replicating, inactivated, or mRNA-based responseCOVID 19vaccine – the only forms of vaccine currently approved in the United States – you can donate blood with no waiting period.

during the process

Lie or sit in a reclining chair with your arm stretched out on the armrest. If you prefer which hand or vein is used, let the person taking the blood know. A blood pressure cuff or cuff is placed around the upper arm to fill the veins with more blood. This makes the veins more visible and makes it easier to insert the needle. It also helps fill the blood bag faster. The skin on the inside of the elbow is then cleaned.

A new, sterile needle is inserted into a vein in your arm. This needle is attached to a thin plastic tube and a bag of blood. After the needle has been inserted, give the wrist a few squeezes to help the blood flow from the vein. First, blood is collected into test tubes. The blood then fills the bag, about half a pint (about half a pint). The needle is usually left in place for about 10 minutes. Once the donation is complete, the needle is removed, a small bandage is placed over the needle site, and the bandage is wrapped around the arm.

Another blood donation method that is becoming more common is ablation. During removal, you are hooked up to a machine that can collect and separate different parts of your blood, such as red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. This process allows you to collect more than one item. This takes longer than a typical blood donation - usually up to two hours.

after treatment

After your donation, take a seat in the observation area where you can relax and have a light snack. After 15 minutes you can leave. After donating blood:

  • Drink extra fluids.
  • Avoid vigorous physical activity or heavy lifting for about five hours.
  • If you feel dizzy, lie down with your legs up until the sensation passes.
  • Keep the bandage dry for the next five hours.
  • If bleeding occurs after removing the dressing, apply pressure and lift the arm until the bleeding stops.
  • If bruising occurs, periodically apply a cold compress to the affected area within the first 24 hours.
  • Consider adding iron-rich foods to your diet to replace iron lost through blood donation.

Contact a blood center or doctor if:

  • You forgot to report important health information to the blood center.
  • You have symptoms of illness, such as a fever, a few days after donating blood.
  • they are diagnosedCOVID 19within 48 hours after blood donation.



Your blood will be tested to determine your blood type and Rh factor. The blood type is classified as A, B, AB or O. The Rh factor refers to the presence or absence of a specific antigen - a substance capable of stimulating an immune response - in the blood. You will be classified as either Rh positive or Rh negative, which means that you either carry the antigen or not. This information is important because the blood type and Rh factor must match the blood type and Rh factor of the person receiving the blood.

Your blood will also be checked for blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis andHIV. If these tests are negative, the blood is distributed for use in hospitals and clinics. If any of these tests are positive, the donor center will notify you and your blood will be rejected.

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Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits means healthcare like they've never experienced. See the stories of satisfied Mayo Clinic patients.

  1. Carol Sharpe Celebrates 150 Gallon Blood Donation Milestone Mayo Clinic volunteer Carole Sharpe reached a milestone by donating 150 gallons of blood. Carroll Sharp could have a permanent chair at the Mayo Clinic's Blood Donor Center in Jacksonville, Florida. He has donated blood for over 60 years and recently reached an important milestone: donating 150 liters of blood in his lifetime. Sharp has been a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic in Florida for over 10 years and finds joy in helping others…

By the staff at the Mayo Clinic

August 03, 2023


How do I know if I have enough blood to donate? ›

To help ensure that it is safe for you to donate, females must have a minimum hemoglobin level of 12.5g/dL and males must have a minimum level of 13.0g/dL. A donor's hemoglobin level cannot be higher than 20.0g/dL to donate.

What are the top 10 excuses for not donating blood? ›

Top 10 Excuses for Not Giving Blood
  • I'm just nervous!
  • I bet it will hurt!
  • I don't want to get a disease from donating.
  • They wouldn't want my blood because of an illness I've had.
  • My blood type isn't the right type.
  • My insurance covers the blood I might need.
  • I don't weigh enough.
  • I'm too young.

What questions do you have to answer to donate blood? ›

To determine if you are eligible to donate we will:
  • Ask about your health and travel.
  • Ask about medicines you are taking or have taken.
  • Ask about your risk for infections that can be transmitted by blood—especially AIDS and viral hepatitis.
  • Take your blood pressure, temperature and pulse.

Why was I told I Cannot donate blood? ›

You can't donate blood if any of these general health issues apply to you: Fever (above 99.5°F) or an acute infection at the time of donation, or feel unwell, have a cold, flu, or trouble breathing. Pregnancy. High blood pressure reading (top number above 180, or bottom number above 100)

How long does it take to replenish 1 pint of blood? ›

How long will it take to replenish the pint of blood I donate? The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement. That's why at least eight weeks are required between whole blood donations.

What happens if you don t drink enough water when donating blood? ›

You have probably heard stories about people fainting when giving blood. This does not only happen to those who are scared of needles. It can happen because you have not had enough fluids prior to the donation, which causes you to feel dizzy and faint when blood is taken.

What is the most important blood to donate? ›

O negative blood can be used in transfusions for any blood type. Type O is routinely in short supply and in high demand by hospitals – both because it is the most common blood type and because type O negative blood is the universal blood type needed for emergency transfusions and for immune deficient infants.

What is the rarest blood type? ›

What's the rarest blood type? AB negative is the rarest of the eight main blood types - just 1% of our donors have it. Despite being rare, demand for AB negative blood is low and we don't struggle to find donors with AB negative blood.

What medications disqualify you from giving blood? ›

Top examples are warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and enoxaparin (Lovenox). While they're often beneficial medications, the way they change your blood means you can't donate your blood. You'll need to wait before you can donate blood or any blood products.

When you should not donate blood? ›

You must be in good health at the time you donate. You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection. If you have recently had a tattoo or body piercing you cannot donate for 6 months from the date of the procedure.

Why won't my doctor tell me my blood type? ›

First, when a doctor sends your bloods off to be tested, labs do not routinely test for type; this is because they consider such a test a waste of time as the only place where the information is necessary is a hospital setting, and no hospital will rely on the word of a patient when it comes to something as crucial as ...

Can I donate blood if I have high blood pressure? ›

You can donate as long as you feel well when you come to donate, and your blood pressure is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation. Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating.

How can I increase my blood volume for donating? ›

Eat well and hydrate the night before your blood donation

If you have hard-to-find veins, drinking extra water is especially helpful as it increases the volume of blood, hydrates body tissue and makes veins easier to spot. Eating and drinking beforehand also reduces the chances of feeling faint when donating blood.

What is the best thing to eat before giving blood? ›

Have iron-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals or raisins.

How many cups of water should you drink before donating blood? ›

The American Red Cross recommends drinking an extra 16 ounces, or 2 cups, of water before donating blood. Other nonalcoholic beverages are fine, too. This extra fluid is in addition to the recommended 72 to 104 ounces (9 to 13 cups) you should drink each day.

Is it safe to give 2 pints of blood? ›

If you meet certain criteria, Power Red allows you to safely donate two units of red cells during one appointment as an automated donation process. It is as safe as whole blood donation.


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