Donating Blood: What to Expect

Donating blood will take approximately 45 minutes for the entire process. 

It is important that you are well prepared for your donation. Eat a well-balanced meal and drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, such as water or juice.

Step 1: Registration

You will be asked to provide some basic information (name, address, age, etc.). A photo ID is required to donate (student ID, driver’s license, passport). In addition, you will answer approximately 50 questions related to your medical history and lifestyle. The questionnaire will be provided at the time of your donation. Preview the questions you will be asked (PDF) ›

Step 2: Medical History and Mini-Physical

One of our qualified staff will review your medical history with you. A finger prick to insure your hemoglobin is high enough for you to donate; then your pulse, blood pressure and temperature are checked.

Step 3: Blood Donation

A nurse or phlebotomist will cleanse and sterilize your arm before inserting a needle. The needle is sterile, used only once and then disposed. After 7 to 10 minutes, your donation should be complete.

Step 4: Rest and Refreshments

Relax and enjoy water, fruit juices, cookies and assorted snacks after your donation for at least 15 minutes.

What's your blood type?

Although some blood types are more common than others, all blood types are needed by our patients.

O negative is the universal blood type and can be given to anyone. It is critical for major traumas, as well as premature babies.

Below are the percentages of each blood type found in the U.S. population:

  • O positive — 38 percent
  • A positive — 34 percent
  • B positive — 9 percent
  • O negative — 7 percent
  • A negative — 3 percent
  • AB positive — 3 percent
  • B negative — 2 percent
  • AB negative — 1 percent