There’s no way we can repay your life-giving generosity, but our staff make the blood donation process as quick and comfortable as possible for all of our donors. We have big screen TVs in our donor room and refreshments after you donate. We’ve also implemented a painless way to check your hemoglobin level without a fingerstick.
You will not need a COVID-19 test in order to give blood. The virus is not transmitted through blood, so it is perfectly safe to give blood without a test. However, donors should be feeling healthy when coming to their scheduled appointment.
Be sure to eat something before coming to donate. When you arrive, we’ll get you registered and screened.
We will need your photo ID, and you’ll receive a questionnaire about your medical history.
To confirm your eligibility to donate, a donor services staff member will review your medical history with you confidentially. We will also check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Blood Donor Services has implemented a new instrument to check hemoglobin levels that does not require a fingerstick. This instrument clips gently on the donor’s thumb and shines a light around the thumb to obtain a hemoglobin reading. We are able to get an accurate reading for most donors without a fingerstick.
First, a technician will swab and sterilize the inside of your elbow and then carefully insert a sterile needle into a vein. It will feel like a small pinch.
If you are donating whole blood, you will likely be in and out the door within 30 minutes. The donation itself takes only about 8-10 minutes to collect one unit (a pint) of blood. Whole blood donors are eligible to give blood every eight weeks. We are especially grateful to our donors who visit us several times a year.
If you are donating platelets, the process takes about an hour and a half, and the donation itself takes about 45 minutes to an hour. This is a special process in which your blood is drawn and separated into its different components through an apheresis machine. The machine removes the platelets and some plasma from your blood, and then returns the rest of the blood to you. If your platelet count is high enough, you will be eligible to donate a second bag of platelets.
Those extra 15 minutes to donate help protect the safety of our patients who need more than one unit of platelets. Why? It’s important for patients to receive blood products from the fewest number of donors to reduce the likelihood that their body will have a bad reaction to the foreign antigens on other people’s blood and platelets. Donors are eligible to give platelets every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. We are so thankful for donors who visit us regularly.