Tips for a Successful Donation
The information below will prepare you for a great donation experience, from start to finish.
Before you donate...
- Get a full night’s sleep.
- Eat a full meal (including iron-rich foods) within 6 hours prior to your appointment. Consider making iron-rich foods part of your daily diet.
- Make sure you are well-hydrated. Drink 16 ounces or more just prior to donating and plenty of fluids for the rest of the day.
- Be sure you are symptom-free from a cold or flu for at least 72 hours.
- Review the latest donor eligibility requirements.
- Complete your health history questionnaire online using iDonate on the day of your donation.
- Bring your Donor ID card or another form of identification.
After you donate...
- Please spend at least 15 minutes in the café area.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting for the rest of the day.
- If you have any questions, contact Donor Suitability at 1-888-235-3301, or our main number at 1-888-GIVE-BLD (888-448-3253).
All eligible blood donors are encouraged to donate:
- Whole blood every 3 months (up to 4 times per year)
- Double red cells every 6 months (2 times per year)
- Platelets every 7 days (up to 24 times per year)
- Plasma every 28 days (up to 12 times per year)
People who donate two or more times per year should consider taking an over-the-counter iron supplement.
Although current FDA guidelines allow whole blood donations every 56 days (every 112 days for double red cells), recent scientific studies have shown that frequent blood donations reduce the amount of iron stored in the body. As a result, Memorial Blood Centers has adjusted frequency recommendations for whole blood and double red cell donations to help ensure that our donors have the safest and most comfortable blood donation experience.
If you decide to donate more frequently than our recommended guidelines, Memorial Blood Centers highly recommends that you talk to your doctor about checking your iron (ferritin) and about taking an iron supplement.
- Read more about the role iron plays in blood donation (PDF).
- Find out how athletes can give blood and perform their best.