Donating blood is a safe, simple, and satisfying experience. Your donations help give life to the millions of Americans each year who require blood transfusions during surgery, after an accident, or because they have a disease that requires blood components. There are many different ways to donate lifesaving blood products, including whole blood, platelet, plasma, and automated red cell donation. The process usually takes about 45-60 minutes.
Eat at your regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluids prior to donating. If you are donating platelets, do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin, for at least 72 hours before your scheduled appointment.
Whole blood: You can donate whole blood every 56 days or up to 6 times a year.
Automated red cells (Alyx): If you meet specific minimum height and weight requirements, you can donate automated red cells. Automated red cell donors can donate every 112 days or 3 times a year. These donors (sometimes referred to as double red cell donors) help save 2 patients with their single automated donation because it yields enough red cells for 2 patient transfusions.
Platelets: You can donate platelets up to a maximum of 24 times a year.
Plasma: You can donate plasma every 28 days.
If you donate multiple blood components, it may impact when you are next eligible to donate. Check with us to confirm your next date of eligibility. For more details on the variety of lifesaving blood components donors can give, go to Types of Donations.
What to Expect
Step 1: Registration
First, you will fill out a donor registration form with your name, date of birth, and contact information. You will answer a series of questions regarding disease history, medication usage, and recent travel. You must also show us your photo or signature ID, or your NYBC Donor ID Card.
Step 2: Health History
Next, one of our technicians will check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature. A drop of blood from your finger will be analyzed to measure the hemacrit level. If you meet all donor requirements, you move on to a donor bed.
Step 3: Donation
Lastly, one of our skilled, specially trained technicians will draw your blood or other component. It takes 10 - 12 minutes for a whole blood donation. Plan to spend about an hour donating blood. Plasma, platelet, and automated red cell procedures will take a little longer. You will give a little less than 1 pint of whole blood in a standard donation. The average adult has between 8 - 12 pints of blood and can easily spare one. In fact, your body replaces blood volume, or plasma, within 24 hours, and red cells within 4 - 8 weeks.
Your health is paramount. All materials, including the needle used for your donation, are new, sterile, disposable, and used only once by you for your blood donation. There is no risk of any disease transmission to a donor.
Step 4: Refreshments
Following your donation you can relax and have a drink and snack in our refreshment area. We advise you to remain there for 10-15 minutes before leaving to resume your normal activities. We don’t recommend lifting, pushing heavy objects, or engaging in strenuous exercise for 4 to 5 hours after your donation.
NYBC plays a vital role in promoting community health. When a donor’s blood is taken, a number of tests are performed on the blood which can help detect and treat various issues.
If the donor’s blood pressure is higher than medically recommended, we provide information along with specific guidance for medical follow-up.
Donors with a low hematocrit level are informed about the significance of this finding and are provided appropriate follow-up information.
Patients with a medical disorder called hereditary hemochromatosis require frequent phlebotomies (blood donations) to lower the excessive iron levels characteristic of this disease. NYBC provides these therapeutic blood donations at no charge.
NYBC actively recruits and cares for donors who give donations of bone marrow or specialized blood cells to help patients with cancer or serious hereditary disorders.