What It Takes to Give Life
All donors must present a valid photo ID at the time of donation. IDs must be issued by state (DL or ID), school or U.S. government (passport, military ID, resident alien ID, green card or work visa).
Age: At least 16 years of age and in good general health. Sixteen-year-olds must have written parental consent. There is no upper age limit.
Weight: Minimum of 110 pounds.
Eating: Eat a low-fat meal two to four hours before giving.
Drinking: Drink lots of water or juice before and after donating. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine products for 12 hours before and after donating.
Strenuous activity: Avoid for 12 hours after donating. Individuals with a hazardous or strenuous job should donate at the end of their work shift. Avoid lifting or pulling with the arm used for donation for 24 hours.
To help better serve you, we’ve compiled a list of the questions most commonly asked by donors. If you do not see your question listed below, please call 1-888-480-8200.
Q: Who can give?
At least 16 years of age (must have written parental consent). At age 17, you may give independently. There is no upper age limit. All donors at Carter BloodCare must bring a valid photo ID. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds. Potential donors must be feeling well and healthy on the day of donating. Check the standard eligibility guidelines here.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revised the eligibility guidelines for previously deferred blood donors. For more information on these changes, click here.
Q: What types of photo ID are accepted? Photo IDs must be issued by state, school or U.S. government (passport, military ID, residential alien ID, green card or work visa).
Q: How much blood is taken? A unit (about one pint) of blood is drawn. This procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes. The average person has between 10 to 12 pints of blood in his/her body. The blood volume lost during donation is replaced by the body within 2-3 days. In about two months, the body will have replaced all of the red cells as well.
Q: How often can I give? Giving whole blood requires a waiting period of 56 days between donations (and is limited to no more than 6 whole blood donations/12 months period). If you donate plasma (your red cells are returned to you), you may donate every 28 days. If you donate platelets (your red cells and most of your plasma is returned to you), you may donate every 7 days, for a total of 24 times in the prior 12 months.
If you donate double red cells (most of your plasma is returned to you), you must wait 112 days before your next donation. Double red cell donors must meet certain weight, height and hemoglobin requirements.
Q: How long does it take? The entire whole blood donation process, from registration to post-donation refreshments, takes less than an hour. The actual blood draw takes 5 to 10 minutes. Automated donations take a little longer. We encourage donors to make and honor appointments to avoid long delays.
Q: How will I feel after I give? Most people feel fine after giving blood. A unit of blood (500ml) is less than a pint, and the average adult body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood. Your body makes new blood constantly, and the fluid you give will be replaced within 2-3 days. Eating a well-balanced meal and drinking plenty of fluids within 24 hours before giving will help you with the donation. Drinking after giving also helps your body replenish lost fluids. You should avoid alcohol before and after giving. Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 24 hours after giving. If you have a hazardous or strenuous job, you should give at the end of your work shift. Smokers should refrain from smoking 30 minutes after giving. Avoid lifting or pulling for 24 hours with the arm used for the donation.
Q: Can I give blood for myself? Yes. It is called autologous donation. Autologous means “self donation” and refers to donating blood for your own surgery. This is a decision that you and your surgeon must make together. An autologous donation can only be drawn with an Autologous Donation Request Form that must be completed and signed by your surgeon. Once the form is completed, you may contact our staff at 1-866-525-3378 or Metro 817-412-5308 to schedule an appointment at a Donor Center near you.
Q: What is vCJD? Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) is a fatal degenerative neurological disease found predominantly in the United Kingdom and has been referred to as the human form of “Mad Cow Disease.” There have been no cases of transmission of this disease by blood transfusion in the United States.
Q: What can I eat to raise my hemoglobin (iron) levels?
Best sources of iron:
- Red meat
- Egg yolk
Other Good Sources:
- Enriched Cereals, breads
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Dried beans, kidney, pinto, soy
- Dark molasses
- Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, peaches)
Q: I don’t have sickle cell anemia, but I carry the trait. Can I still give? You can donate blood if you have sickle cell trait.
Q: Is it safe to receive blood? While no medical procedure is without risk, the unlikely risk of transfusion-related complications is far less than that of not receiving a transfusion indicated for treatment. The blood supply is more safe now than ever. Every potential donor undergoes a thorough screening by a trained professional, and every unit undergoes many tests to ensure safety.
Q: What tests are performed on blood?
ABO blood grouping
Red cell antibody screen
Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
Hepatitis C Antibody
Hepatitis B Core Antibody
HTLV (Human T-Lymphotropic Virus) Type I and II Antibodies
West Nile Virus
Chagas Disease (one time)
Q: What happens when somebody tests positive for an infectious disease marker? Depending on the type of positive test result, the donor may be temporarily or indefinitely deferred. The blood donation is discarded. The donor is notified by mail of any clinically significant abnormal test results, or may be notified that we wish to personally consult with him/her. At that time, we are able to help the donor understand the test result and subsequent deferral. All test results are confidential for all blood donors. If you have questions about testing, please call Donor Notification at 1-888-480-8200 or Metro 817-412-5603.
Q: Which patients use what components? Red blood cells can be used to help accident victims, surgical patients and people with anemia.
Platelets can be used by patients receiving treatment for leukemia and cancer, those undergoing surgery and others with low-platelet conditions.
Plasma is effective in treating patients suffering from burns, trauma, certain blood disorders, and a variety of other conditions.