Blood Donation Requirements & FAQs

General Blood Donation Questions

Why Should I Give Blood

Someone will need blood every two seconds and just one donation can save up to three lives. With all the wonderful advances in modern medicine, there is no manufactured substitute for human blood. It must be provided by volunteer blood donors in the community.

One in three people need blood in their lifetime. If you don’t need blood, it’s almost certain that someone close to you will. As a community blood center, we provide the blood components to hospitals and medical facilities in the community. After you donate with us, you will be able to review your blood type, cholesterol, blood pressure and other health information on our Donor Portal.

Is it safe to give blood?

Donating blood is safe and simple. You cannot get any infectious disease by donating blood. When you donate, a sterile, single-use kit is used to collect your blood. All materials are used once, and then discarded.

Most donors feel fine during and after donation. Occasionally a person may feel dizzy, nauseous, or develop a bruise. If you feel lightheaded, stop what you are doing, lie down, and raise your feet until the feeling passes. Hydrating yourself before and after donating will help your body replenish lost fluids. If you would like to report any problems, please call 1.800.256.4483.

Does it hurt to give blood?

Donating blood is a relatively painless process for most people. You may feel a slight pinch when the needle is inserted, but the discomfort is typically minimal and short-lived. The sensation is often compared to a quick pinch or mosquito bite. Our staff is trained to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the process, and you are welcome to ask any questions before and during your donation.

Should I do anything to prepare for donating blood?

Make sure you eat a good meal (iron rich foods like meat and vegetables are best), and increase fluids (preferably water) before you donate. Also, be sure you know the names of all medications you take and why you’re taking them. Try to avoid drinking alcohol before and after donating.

Remember to bring a valid photo ID when you donate. You may provide one from the primary listing or two from the secondary listing as outlined below:

Primary Secondary
Driver’s License Social Security Card
Passport Birth Certificate
Military ID Personal Check Book
INS (green) Card Bank or Credit Card
Student ID (with photo) School or Work ID (without photo)
Corporate or Work ID (with photo) Vehicle Registration
Blood Center ID Card (LifeShare or other) Fishing or Hunting License
Locator Card (issued at high school drives) Library Card
Do I have to know my blood type before I can give blood?

No, you do not. In fact, giving blood is a great way to find out your blood type! Please allow at least two days for test results. You can find your blood type along with other information such as your cholesterol on our donor portal.

How long does the donation process take?

The entire donation process takes less than 60 minutes (automated donations may take longer). This time includes the interview before the donation when we determine your eligibility by asking questions about your health, travel, and medications you are taking. We will perform a mini-physical to take your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and a small blood sample to check your iron level (these results are available for you to see on our donor portal). The actual donation takes 10-15 minutes. For your safety, we ask that you sit for at least 15 minutes following donation while enjoying a snack and a beverage that we are happy to provide.
You may resume normal activity after donating. However, avoid strenuous physical activity or lifting heavy objects for a few hours. Be sure to increase your water intake and eat well at your next meal. Smokers should refrain from smoking 30 minutes after donating.

How long does it take to replenish the blood I donate?

The human body is remarkable in its ability to regenerate blood. For most people, replenishing the blood volume lost during a blood donation only takes about four to six weeks. However, the time it takes to fully replace red blood cells can vary depending on factors such as diet, hydration, and overall health. It is important to stay well-hydrated and eat nutritious foods after donating blood to support your body’s recovery process.

Where can I give blood?

You can give blood at one of our donation centers or local public blood drives. Visit our website to find a blood drive or donation center near you! We encourage donors to schedule an appointment to avoid delays.

What types of donations can I make?

You can make a whole blood or an automated donation.

An automated donation (sometimes called apheresis) is a special kind of donation allowing a donor to give specific blood components. When you donate via automated collections, only the needed blood components are retained. The remaining components are returned in the same arm along with fluids to help you feel more hydrated. The best part about an automated donation is that you know you are giving the blood component most needed for patients matching your blood type. There are several automated donation procedures, with the two most common being double red-cells, or ALYX, and platelets.

Automated donation procedures are safe. They usually take longer than a whole blood donation, but while you donate, you can watch television or videos, listen to music, read a book, or use our WiFi to surf the web.

Eligibility & Blood Donation Requirements

What medications disqualify you from donating blood?

Most medications do not interfere with blood donation. Please know the name(s) of your medication(s) and why you are taking them when you come to donate. Ask LifeShare staff about the specific medications you take and tell us if you are now taking or have ever taken:

Disqualifying Medications include : Proscar©, Avodart©, Jalyn©, Propecia©, Accutane©, Soriatane©, Tegison©, growth hormone from human pituitary glands, Bovine or Beef Insulin, Hepatitis B Immune Globulin (different from Hepatitis B Vaccine), experimental medication or unlicensed (experimental) vaccine, anticoagulants, Playiz and Ticlid, and Feldene.

How old do you have to be to donate blood?

You must be at least sixteen years old to give blood. Sixteen-year-olds must present signed permission from a parent/guardian at each donation.

Can you donate blood if you smoke?

Yes, you can usually donate blood if you smoke. Smoking cigarettes or cigars does not disqualify you from donating blood as long as you meet all other eligibility criteria. However, it is important to note that smoking can have adverse effects on your overall health, including increased blood pressure, which may affect your ability to donate. It is generally advised not to smoke on the day of your appointment.

Can you donate blood if you have used cannabis?

Using cannabis does not disqualify you from donating blood as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements; in fact, asking about cannabis use is not part of the health questionnaire. It is advised that if you have recently used cannabis, you do not attempt to donate if you are feeling any effects on your comprehension or memory.

Can I donate blood if I have some medical conditions?

You may donate blood if you have medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes (even if you are insulin dependent). You must meet blood donation criteria, including passing the mini-physical that includes blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and a check of your iron level.

You should feel well and healthy when you donate. If you have an active infection, wait until you are well. To find out more about how your medical condition(s) may affect you donating blood, contact your local LifeShare donation center.

How much do you have to weigh to donate blood?

Throughout the United States, most blood donation centers require donors to weigh at least 110 pounds (about 50 kilograms). This weight requirement helps ensure the donor’s safety and well-being during and after the donation process. If you are unsure whether you meet the weight requirement, you can check with your local blood donation center for guidance.

Do any vaccinations make me ineligible to donate?

Many vaccines do not require a waiting period to donate provided you are symptom free and have no signs of fever (this is not a complete list): Flu, Allergy, Cholera, Diphtheria, Human Papillomavirus (HPV vaccine), Meningitis, Pertussis, Pneumonia, Rabies, and Tetanus booster. Other common injections with no waiting period include:Depo-Provera, Botox injection, and Novocaine.. If you have a question about your eligibility to donate blood, contact your local LifeShare office.

Can I give blood if I have had cancer or have received a blood transfusion?

If it has been one year from the end of completion of therapy with no recurrence of cancer, you may give blood. Minor treated skin cancer is not cause for deferral. Those who have had hematologic blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple melanomas are permanently ineligible to donate.

You can give blood three months after having a blood transfusion.

Can I give blood if I am pregnant?

No, but you can give blood six weeks after giving birth, having a miscarriage or abortion. Nursing mothers are not encouraged to donate as the body is still transferring spare nutrients to milk production.

Can LGBTQ+ Individuals donate blood?

Yes, LGBTQ+ individuals are eligible to donate blood. Blood donation eligibility is based on individual risk factors for transmitting bloodborne infections rather than sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there are specific guidelines related to sexual activity and potential exposure to bloodborne infections that may affect eligibility. It’s essential to review the eligibility criteria provided by your local blood donation center to determine your eligibility to donate blood.

Do I have to select a sex on the DHQ?

Yes, you must choose male or female at the beginning of the donor history questionnaire. Your reply determines what hemoglobin level is appropriate to qualify you as a donor.

What is a new sexual partner?

A new sexual partner is a person with whom you have started a new relationship in the last 3 months, OR a person with whom you had a past relationship, and resumed the relationship in the last 3 months.


By addressing these common questions, we hope to provide clarity and encourage more individuals to consider donating blood to save lives. If you have further questions or concerns about blood donation or your eligibility, please reach out to LifeShare for assistance. Your generosity can make a significant difference in the lives of those in need!

Before You Donate Blood

On the day of your donation, visit our DonorPass page to view and answer all of the screening questions. This streamlines the process when you arrive while also allowing you the privacy of answering them in the comfort of your own home. Filling out the questions doesn’t mean you have to donate, but should you decide to come in on a different day, you will need to fill out the questionnaire again on the same day as your visit.

Should I do anything to prepare for donating blood?

Before you donate, eat a good meal (iron-rich foods like meat and vegetables are best) and increase your fluid intake (preferably water). Also, be sure you know the names of all medications you take and why you’re taking them. Try to avoid drinking alcohol before and after donating.

Remember to bring a valid photo ID when you donate.

Do I have to know my blood type before I can give blood?

No, you do not. In fact, giving blood is a great way to find out your blood type! Please allow at least two days for test results. You can find your blood on our donor portal. You’ll also receive a Donor ID card in the mail with your blood type you can keep in your wallet.

How often can I donate blood?

The frequency of blood donation is determined by procedure.

  • Whole blood donation- every 56 days
  • Plasma donation- every 28 days
  • Platelet donation- every 14 days (maximum 24 donations per year)
  • ALYX/Double Red Cell donation- every 112 days
What happens to my blood after I've donated? / Who receives my blood?

Your blood will be tested for ABO type and several communicable diseases, including hepatitis, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), syphilis, HTLV I and II, and unexpected antibodies. To help several patients, your blood may also be separated into components (red cells, plasma, and/or platelets).  LifeShare provides blood products to over 100 local hospitals.

Can I be paid to donate blood?

Blood donation at LifeShare Blood Center is strictly voluntary.

After You Donate Blood

After your donation appointment is complete, take it easy and follow these precautions to replenish your iron and blood supply.

  • Pat yourself on the back for taking action to help others and save lives!
  • Schedule your next appointment for blood donation.
  • Keep your bandage on for at least five hours and avoid exercise.
  • If the site of your blood donation begins to bleed, lift your arm above your head and press on the needle site for 5 to 10 minutes or until it stops.
  • If a bruise appears, apply ice at 10 to 15-minute intervals for the first day. After that, use a warm compress.
  • Drink four 8oz glasses of water or other liquids.
  • Eat healthy, iron-rich foods or add an iron supplement to replace the lost iron.
  • Dizziness and a loss of strength can occur. If this happens, lie down and raise your feet until you feel better.
I gave blood recently and now believe my blood shouldn't be used.

Please call or email if you become ill or develop a fever, a cold, sore throat, diarrhea, or flu symptoms within 48 hours of donating. Contact us if you are diagnosed with West Nile Virus or develop its symptoms (headache in conjunction with fever) within 14 days of donating.

If you believe your donation should not be used, contact us. If you do not want to give specifics about why we should not use your blood, just say “for confidential reasons.”

Is donated blood tested for HIV and other diseases?

Yes. Your donated blood is tested for many disease markers to ensure that it’s safe for a recipient. We test for:

  • Trypanosoma cruzi
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV Types I and II
  • Human T-Lymphotropic virus
  • Syphilis
  • West Nile Virus
After I gave blood, I received a letter that indicated something might be wrong with my blood.

A very small percentage of blood donors receive a letter indicating a positive result on one or more of the 14 tests run on every blood donation. These tests are performed to ensure your blood is safe for transfusion to patients. In most cases, the positive test result does not pose any health risk to you. For more information, contact the Quality & Regulatory office at 1-800-256-5433 (option 6).

I Have More Questions, How Do I Get Answers?

We are so happy you’re taking the next step toward saving lives! If you have questions about the blood donation process, what to expect, and what you need to do to prepare, we’re here to help. Contact us anytime, and we’ll answer your questions, provide support, and help you feel more comfortable about making the choice to donate blood.