Blood Donor Screening
To ensure the safety of the blood donation process and available blood supply, volunteer blood donors must meet the general requirements listed below in addition to other screening guidelines as required by regulated governing agencies.
To establish that a potential donor can give blood safely, a mini physical is given by a member of our staff prior to donation. This includes a general review of the donor's medical history, blood pressure check, pulse rate check, temperature check and hemoglobin level check. If you are taking any medications, especially prescription medications, you will be asked which ones and the reason(s) for which they are taken.
All donors must provide an acceptable photo identification. Acceptable IDs are: state issued driver's license or ID card, military ID, employee ID, passport, green card, or working visa.
Donors must be at least 17 years of age. There is not an upper age limit.
Donors must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (50 kg).
Donors must be in general good health. Some conditions may disqualify donors either temporarily or permanently. It is recommended to eat a sensible meal within four hours prior to donation and be well hydrated.
Travel and/or a prolonged stay in some foreign countries can result in temporary or permanent disqualification. This is done according to Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, along with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The issues involved may be a potential exposure to malaria, mad cow disease and other conditions. Please check with our staff for more details.
Before and After Donating
It is recommended that prospective donors eat prior to giving blood. After donation, normal daily activities may resume. We do recommend that donors avoid lifting heavy weights or performing strenuous exercise for several hours.
You may donate platelets and plasma 24 times a year, up to 12 liters per year, whole blood every 8 weeks and double red cells every 16 weeks.
Standard Laboratory Tests
A set of standard tests are performed in the laboratory once blood is donated, including, but not limited to the following:
- ABO typing (blood type)
- Rh typing (positive or negative Rh antigen)
- Screening for any unexpected red blood cell antibodies that may cause problems in the recipient
- Screening for current or past infections, including the following:
- Hepatitis viruses B and C
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Human T-lymphotrophic viruses (HTLV) I and II
- West Nile Virus (WNV)
Irradiation to blood cells is performed to disable any T-lymphocytes present in the donated blood. T-lymphocytes can cause a reaction when transfused, but can also cause graft-versus-host problems with repeated exposure to foreign cells.
Leukocyte reduced blood has been filtered to remove the white blood cells containing antibodies that can cause fevers in the recipient of the transfusion. These antibodies, with repeated transfusions, may also increase a recipient’s risk of reactions to subsequent transfusions.