Frequently Asked Questions

Blood Donation Process

How does the blood donation process work?

Donating blood is a simple thing to do, but can make a big difference in the lives of others. The donation process from the time you arrive until the time you leave takes about an hour. The donation itself is only about 8-10 minutes on average.


  • You will complete donor registration, which includes information such as your name, address, phone number, and donor identification number.

What should I do after donating blood?

After you give blood:

Take the following precautions:

  • Drink an extra four glasses (eight ounces each) of non-alcoholic liquids.
  • Keep your bandage on and dry for the next five hours, and do not do heavy exercising or lifting.
  • If the needle site starts to bleed, raise your arm straight up and press on the site until the bleeding stops.
  • Because you could experience dizziness or loss of strength, use caution if you plan to do anything that could put you or others at risk of harm. For any hazardous occupation or hobby, follow applicable safety recommendations regarding your return to these activities following a blood donation.
  • Eat healthy meals and consider adding iron-rich foods to your regular diet, or discuss taking an iron supplement with your health care provider, to replace the iron lost with blood donation.
  • If you get a bruise: Apply ice to the area intermittently for 10-15 minutes during the first 24 hours. Thereafter, apply warm, moist heat to the area intermittently for 10-15 minutes. A rainbow of colors may occur for about 10 days.
  • If you get dizzy or lightheaded: Stop what you are doing, lie down, and raise your feet until the feeling passes and you feel well enough to safely resume activities.
  • And remember to enjoy the feeling of knowing you have helped save lives!
  • Schedule your next appointment.

Will it hurt when you insert the needle?

Only for a moment. Pinch the fleshy, soft underside of your arm. That pinch is similar to what you will feel when the needle is inserted.

How long does a blood donation take?

The entire process takes about one hour and 15 minutes; the actual donation of a pint of whole blood unit takes eight to 10 minutes. However, the time varies slightly with each person depending on several factors including the donor’s health history and attendance at the blood drive.

How long will it take to replenish the pint of blood I donate?

The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about 90 days to 100 days for complete replacement. That’s why at least 10 weeks are required between whole blood donations.

Why does the Sangam Blood Centre ask so many personal questions when I give blood?

The highest priorities of the Sangam Blood Centre are the safety of the blood supply and our blood donors. Some individuals may be at risk of transferring communicable disease through blood donation due to exposure via travel or other activities or may encounter problems with blood donation due to their health. We ask these questions to ensure that it is safe for patients to receive your blood and to ensure that it is safe for you to donate blood that day.

How often can I donate blood?

You must wait at least 12 weeks (90 days) between donations of whole blood. Whole blood donors can donate up to 4 times a year. Platelet apheresis donors may give every 7 days up to 24 times per year. Regulations are different for those giving blood for themselves (autologous donors).

Who can donate blood?

In most states, donors must be age 18 or older. Some states allow donation by 17-year-olds with a signed parental consent form. Donors must weigh at least 48 kgs and be in good health. Additional eligibility criteria apply.

Can I bring guests or children with me to my donation appointment?

At this time, we are allowing additional guests or children to accompany donors to their donation appointment. Guests are expected to follow any safety protocols in place at the time of donation. The safety of our donors, volunteers, and employees is of the utmost importance. Children who do not require supervision and are not disruptive are welcome to sit in the waiting or refreshment area. If they require supervision another adult must be present.

Cold, Flu

Wait if you have a fever or a productive cough (bringing up phlegm)

Wait if you do not feel well on the day of donation.

Wait until you have completed antibiotic treatment for sinus, throat or lung infection.

Weight and Height

You must weigh at least 48 kgs to be eligible for blood donation for your own safety. Students who donate at high school drives and donors 18 years of age or younger must also meet additional height and weight requirements for whole blood donation (applies to girls shorter than 5'5" and boys shorter than 5').

Blood volume is determined by body weight and height. Individuals with low blood volumes may not tolerate the removal of the required volume of blood given with whole blood donation. There is no upper weight limit as long as your weight is not higher than the weight limit of the donor bed/lounge you are using. You can discuss any upper weight limitations of beds and lounges with your local health historian.

Unable to Give Blood?

Consider volunteering or hosting a blood drive through the Sangam Blood Centre. The Sangam Blood Centre ensure an ongoing blood supply, provide humanitarian support to families in need and prepare communities by teaching lifesaving skills.

Allergy, Stuffy Nose, Itchy Eyes, Dry Cough

Acceptable as long as you feel well, have no fever, and have no problems breathing through your mouth.

Donation Intervals

Wait at least 12 weeks between whole blood (standard) donations.

Wait at least 7 days between platelet (pheresis) donations.


Do not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.

You are at risk for getting infected if you:

Do not give blood if you have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS:

  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Sore throat
  • Rash

Do not give blood if at any time you received HIV treatment also known as antiretroviral therapy (ART).