1. Who can Donate?
Please go to Am I Eligible to Donate? for general donation criteria.
2. What Happens During the Donation Process?
If you have never donated blood and wonder what to expect, here is a step-by-step description of what is involved in donating blood. The entire process takes only approximately one hour.
- Upon entering the blood drive or Neighborhood Donor Center, you will be greeted by a Hoxworth Blood Center representative for registration.
- You will be given educational materials to read, including important information to about AIDS. This information identifies certain "high risk" behaviors associated with HIV transmission and asks that you do not donate if you have participated in such activity.
- After reading the educational materials, your next step will be to complete the donor information form. This includes personal data and health history questions requiring "yes" or "no" responses. The health history interviewer may ask you additional questions based on your responses to further determine eligibility.
- The health history interviewer will then perform your mini-physical. A drop of blood will be taken from your finger to measure your hematocrit (the percentage of red cells that make up your whole blood). Your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature will also be checked. If the mini-physical identifies any questionable results, the health history interviewer may suggest further follow up with your physician.
During the Donation:
- After the health history interview, you will be greeted by your Donor Care Specialist. They will ask you which arm you would prefer to use for the donation process. They will escort you to a donor chair for you to recline in during the donation process.
- A staff member will cleanse a small area of your arm with an anti-bacterial scrub and then insert a sterile, non-reusable needle. You will feel a slight twinge, like a pinch. Note: Hoxworth uses equipment and needles that are prepackaged, sterilized, used only once, and then destroyed. It is absolutely impossible to contract AIDS thru the act of donating blood.
- At the beginning of the donation, blood will be diverted into a small sample collection pouch. From this, five test tubes of your blood will be collected for blood typing and infectious disease testing.
- The blood donation process itself will take about 10 minutes. Slightly less than a pint of blood is taken (450 mL). Blood volume in most adults ranges from 10 to 12 pints.
After The Donation:
- You will be asked to rest for 10 to 15 minutes in our canteen area.
- You will be given refreshments - orange juice, apple juice, V-8 juice, or soda - to help your body begin to replace the fluid volume lost through your donation. Your body typically replaces the volume of fluid lost within 24 hours. Cookies will also be available, along with popcorn at some select Hoxworth Neighborhood Donor Centers.
- You will be eligible to donate again in eight weeks if whole blood was collected, 16 weeks if you decided to participate in automated double red cell collection.
3. What Components are Made From Your Blood?
Whole Blood - This is your original blood donation that has not been separated into individual components. This product can be stored for up to 35 days.
Red Blood Cells - This component contains the red blood cells separated from a whole blood donation. This product can be stored for up to 42 days. It is used to increase red cell mass for increased oxygen delivery to tissues. Typical uses involve resuscitation of trauma patients, support for surgical procedures, long-term support for anemia and burn patients.
Platelet Concentrate - Once separated from whole blood, this product can be stored for up to five days. It is used to increase platelet counts following chemotherapy in leukemia and cancer patients and to help control bleeding in patients who are thrombocytopenic (platelet-depleted) due to other reasons.
Fresh Frozen Plasma - Once separated from whole blood, this product can be stored frozen for up to one year. It is used to correct some coagulation disorders treat shock due to plasma loss in burn, or severely hemorrhaging, patients.
Cryoprecipitate - Once separated from plasma, this product can be stored frozen for up to one year. it is used to treat fibrinogen deficiency and Von Willenbrand's disease.
4. How Rare is Your Blood Type?
While all blood types are important, the following chart shows the percentage distribution of human blood types in the general population.