Donating blood is safe and simple, but there are differences in the donation process depending on the type of donation. Each donation type follows specific guidelines that ensure the quality of the product being drawn, the comfort of the donor, and the efficiency of the donation process. Strict procedures for every step of the process ensure the safety of the donor and of the blood supply. Depending on what you donate, the entire process, from registration to refreshments, takes anywhere from 45 minutes to two-and-a-half hours.
Step 1: Registration
In the reception area, we ask donors for general information such as name and address. In order to maintain accurate records, all donors are asked to present proper identification (e.g. driver’s license, personalized LifeSource Donor ID card or military ID card, birth certificate plus picture ID with full name, etc.).
Step 2: Mini-Physical
During the mini-physical, we check temperature, pulse, hemoglobin, and blood pressure. We draw and test a drop of blood to ensure the donor has enough iron-carrying red blood cells to safely donate blood.
Step 3: Medical Interview
Donors meet privately with a LifeSource staff member to review their medical history. This information is kept strictly confidential.
Step 4: Pre-Donation Refreshments
Before the donation, we ask donors to drink a glass or two of decaffeinated fluids to help hydration levels.
Step 5: The Donation
In the donation area, a trained phlebotomist will sterilize the area of the arm before drawing the blood. When donating whole blood, one unit (approximately one pint) is removed.
An apheresis donation (donating the individual components) is similar to donating whole blood – except that everything that you are not donating is returned to you. For example, if you donate platelets, whole blood is withdrawn and spun in a sterile, self-contained centrifuge to separate the plasma; then your red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma are all returned to you through the same needle.
Apheresis processes take longer than the whole blood donation process. During the apheresis procedure, donors can relax and watch a movie, read a book, listen to music or visit with the LifeSource staff.
All materials used during each donation are pre-packaged, sterile and disposable. These materials are used only once and then discarded.
Step 6: Refreshments and Relaxation
After the donation, donors are directed to the café/canteen area, where they rest while enjoying light refreshments. After 15 minutes, donors are permitted to leave the canteen area and resume their daily routine.
The whole blood donation process, from registration to refreshments, takes approximately one hour.
The double red blood cell donation process takes a little more than an hour.
The platelet donation process takes approximately two hours.
The plasma donation process takes approximately 45 minutes.