Blood Donation Eligibility, Process, and Intervals
In general, you can donate if you:
- Are at least 17 years old, 16 with parental or guardian consent
- Weigh at least 110 pounds
- Are in good health and have not had cold or flu symptoms in at least five days
Platelet donors have additional eligibility criteria:
- Have not taken aspirin or aspirin containing products in the last 48 hours
- Women who have been pregnant must have tested negative for HLA antibodies since their last pregnancy
You will be asked for personal information such as name, address, and phone number. Please be sure to have a photo ID with you. You will be given information that explains the donation process and a health history form to complete.
The Health History form asks a number of questions on a variety of topics. It is used to help determine donor eligibility. After you complete the health history form, a staff member will take you to a private screening room to review your health history, take your blood pressure, temperature, and test a drop of blood to make sure that you have a satisfactory volume of red blood cells. Platelet donors will also be tested for an adequate platelet count. Finally, we'll need to know the name of any prescription medications that you take and places you have traveled in the past three years.
Be sure to eat a meal within four hours of your donation.
Your arm is thoroughly cleaned and a needle is inserted into your vein. The blood flows through sterile tubing into a collection bag.
Every time an individual gives blood, a new needle and all new tubing are used and discarded. There is no risk of getting an infectious disease such as HIV, AIDS or hepatitis from donating blood.
The final step of the donation process is by far the most popular, cookies and juice! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your snacks.
Blood Donation Intervals
The interval at which a donor can donate blood products is dependent on the type of donation and age of the donor and is outlined below. Donors are encouraged to call 1-319-356-2058 for more information or to assess their eligibility.
- 16 or 17 years of age every 20 weeks
- 18 – 24 years of age every 16 weeks
- 25 years of age or older every 8 weeks
Platelets, Plasma, Red Cells (Automated Donation)
- Platelets every 7 days but no more than 24 times in a rolling one year period
- Plasma every 28 days
- Red Cells every 8 weeks for donors over the age of 25, every 16 weeks for donors who are 18 – 24 years of age and every 20 weeks for donors who are 16 or 17 years of age
Frequently Asked Questions about Donation Eligibility
If the tattoo or piercing was done by a state licensed facility that uses new single use needles, you can donate again once the site has healed and there is no sign of infection
Women must wait 6 weeks after giving birth before donating whole blood. To donate platelets, a woman who has been pregnant must test negative for HLA antibodies before donating. Contact the blood center to be tested for HLA.
There is no donation deferral for women who are breastfeeding.
There is no deferral for receiving the flu vaccine or TB test. For eligibility after receiving other vaccinations, please contact the blood center.
If you received blood products during surgery, you must wait a year from the date of the surgery before donating again. If you did not receive blood products, you can donate once the incision is healed with no sign of infection and you have been cleared by your primary care provider to return to normal activities.
It depends on the country. When you donate, please bring a list of places you have traveled outside of the United States during the past three years.
It depends on the medication. Please review the Medication Deferral List for further information. When you donate, please bring a list of any medications you take.