Have questions about donating blood?
Read our FAQs to answer your questions regarding blood donation.
Yes. Donating blood is safe. The supplies used to collect blood are sterile and only used once.
Each state sets the minimum blood donor age. You must be at least 16 or 17-years-old depending on your state. Some blood centers may have an upper age limit. Please call and check with your local blood center for more information.
Many medications are acceptable. Consult your physician to be sure you're healthy enough to donate and ask your community blood center medical staff if you have questions about your eligibility. Do not assume that you are ineligible without inquiring first.
Travel to certain countries may prevent you from donating blood. Check with your blood center if you have questions on travel-related deferrals.
Recent vaccinations may prevent you from donating blood. Flu vaccines do no make you ineligible. Contact your blood center to request further information.
Yes. Screening questions must be asked of all donors at each donation. This is required by the Food and Drug Administration.
All blood donations are processed and available for use between 24 and 48 hours after collection.
- Whole blood is processed into components (red cells, platelets, plasma).
- After processing, the red cells can be stored for up to 42 days.
- Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to 12 months.
- Platelets (from whole blood or by apheresis) must be used within five days.
The process for whole blood donation usually takes about one hour with the collection itself usually lasting only about 10 minutes. Expect to spend about two hours for an apheresis platelet collection. The donation process includes registration, a brief medical screening, blood collection, and refreshments.
For more information, see our Blood Donation Types & Collection Procedures.
Women have about 10 pints, and men about 12 pints of blood in their bodies.
Red Cells - these give your blood its red color and carry oxygen to your organs and tissues.
Platelets - the very small colorless cell fragments in your blood whose main function is to stop bleeding.
Plasma - the liquid portion of your blood that transports water and nutrients to your body's tissues.
You can donate whole blood every 56 days. Red blood cells will return to normal levels within approximately two weeks of donation.
You can donate platelets (apheresis donation) as much as twice in a 7- day period - or up to 24 times in a rolling 12 months. 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 liquid portion of your blood, takes a couple of days.
Double red cell donations are performed using an apheresis machine, where the actual donation takes about 30-35 minutes, and allow you to donate two pints of red cells.
The blood supply is safe. Blood donor eligibility standards, individual donor screening, laboratory testing, and donor record checks are in place at donor centers to help ensure the safety of blood transfusions.
If you have questions regarding blood donation and are of 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
Type O negative is the universal donor and can give blood to any other blood type. Only 8% of the U.S. population has O negative blood.
AB positive is the universal recipient and can receive blood from any other blood type. Only 2.5% of the U.S. population has AB positive blood.
They do not pay for blood donations. America's Blood Centers members rely on volunteer, altruistic donors.