Blood Donation FAQs

Why Was I Deferred From Giving Blood?

Deferred, but not deterred. If you were ever turned away from giving blood, please come back and try again. For many blood donors, many of the most common deferrals (low iron, low blood pressure, medications) are temporary, only disqualifying you from donating for a specific period of time. After the deferral period ends, you can return to be reevaluated, and if all donor eligibility criteria are met, you will be allowed to donate. 

For more information about deferrals, visit the AABB (Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies) website.

Help save lives in your community. Become a voluntary blood, double red cell, plasma or platelet donor today! Schedule your donation.


Eligibility FAQ's

Nearly 30 states (including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) permit 16-year-olds to donate blood with consent from a parent/guardian. These donors must be in good health and meet the minimum criteria to donate. Please refer to the height and weight chart to verify donor eligibility. By becoming a blood donor, your son or daughter shows great civic responsibility, maturity and community pride.

Most medications will not defer you from donating blood. Before you make an appointment, however, check our medication deferral list.

If you are currently taking antibiotics for an infection, you will be eligible to donate two days after your course of treatment is complete.

Pregnant women are not eligible to donate blood - your body needs all the nutrients it can get! We recommend speaking with your doctor at your 6-week postpartum appointment to verify whether or not it is OK for you to start donating blood again.

Women who are breastfeeding are eligible to donate. Most nursing mothers say that eating a healthy meal before donating and staying hydrated before, during and after helps ensure a successful donation.

There is no wait period for receiving a COVID vaccination.

The short answer is yes. There are some exceptions that may defer you from donating, including:

  • If you have traveled to an area affected by malaria in the past year, we ask that you wait three months from the time you returned home before donating blood. 
  • If you have ever had malaria, you must be symptom-free for three years. 

Nearly 30 states (including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio) have permitted blood donations from 16-year-old donors and many have been accepting those donors for years.

Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated before, during and after your appointment.

Time restrictions between blood donations are placed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for your safety. You can donate the following:

  • Whole blood: every 56 days (8 weeks)
  • Red cells: every 112 days (16 weeks)
  • Platelets: every 14 days (2 weeks)
  • Plasma: every 28 days (4 weeks)

You can donate whole blood every 56 days or eight weeks, up to six times per year.

As long as your tattoo or piercing has healed and was done in a state-licensed facility, you are able to donate blood. If it was not done at a state-licensed facility or has not healed, a three-month waiting period is required before you are eligible to donate blood.

There are specific requirements for gay and bisexual men, but people of all genders and sexual orientations may be able to donate if FDA eligibility criteria are met. Learn more about guidelines for LGBTQ+ donations.

There are a few additional conditions that may prevent you from donating, including:

  • Receiving any blood transfusions in the last three months.
  • A history of hepatitis B or C
  • High risk for HIV/AIDS
  • If you've ever taken Tegison
  • If you used needles to take anything not prescribed by your physician in the past 3 months.

The following forms of ID with a birth date and photo will be accepted:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Student identification card
  • Passport, visa or green card

Parental consent forms for 16-year-old donors in Indiana and Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin are available from staff at all blood drives and donor centers. High school blood drives will receive copies of consent forms from a Versiti donor recruiter prior to the scheduled drive.

Individuals aged 17 and older who are in good health and not experiencing symptoms of cold or flu may donate blood. Donors who are 16 years old may donate but must have parent/guardian permission. There is no maximum age for donation.

Donors must weigh at least 110 lbs to donate.* Donors aged 16-18 have special height and weight requirements, view the chart for more information.

According to state statutes, parental consent is required for 16-year-olds, but not 17-year-olds. Some schools require parental consent forms for 17-year-old donors, but Versiti is not required by law to collect parental consent from 17-year-olds. 

This is a volunteer opportunity like no other. Versiti is the only provider of blood to the community hospitals where you live and work. Medical technology has provided many life-saving discoveries over the years, but there is still no substitute for blood. In a medical emergency, often the most important element is the availability of blood.

Your blood donation can help:

  • Trauma victims
  • Surgery patients
  • Premature babies
  • People with anemia

Donation Process FAQ's

Yes. The following forms of identification with a photo and birth date are acceptable:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID
  • Student ID card
  • Passport, visa or green card

The process for donating whole blood takes about an hour from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave. This includes registration, a brief medical screening, blood collection and refreshments. 

Collecting one unit of whole blood only takes about 10 minutes; however, you can expect to spend more time donating products like red cells, platelets and plasma (also known as apheresis procedures).

All donated blood products undergo a series of tests to ensure they are safe for patients to receive and are typically available for use 24-48 hours following donation. Whole blood is separated into components (red cells, platelets and plasma) and after processing, the red cells can be stored for 42 days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to 12 months. Platelets expire after 5 days.

Donating blood does not hurt, though you might feel a pinch when the needle first goes into your arm. In that moment, think about the patients you're helping who rely on the generosity of people like you to feel healthy. You may experience discomfort for a few seconds, but you'll have the lasting reward of knowing you saved a life. 

Blood Safety FAQ's

Red blood cells can be stored for 42 days before it expires and must be destroyed. Plasma can be frozen for up to 12 months. Platelets must be transfused within 5 days of being donated.

Yes, donating blood is completely safe. You cannot contract any diseases from donating blood. A sterile kit is used once to collect your blood and is then thrown away. Versiti is committed to the safety of our donors.

Yes. The blood supply is the safest it’s ever been, especially since the implementation of nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT). NAT is a more sensitive gene-based test used to screen blood for HIV and hepatitis B and C. Fifteen tests (including 11 for infectious diseases) are performed on each unit of donated blood to ensure its safety for patients.

After we collect your blood, it is sent to Versiti labs for testing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all donated blood undergo a series of lab tests before it is given to patients. We perform 15 separate tests on each unit of donated blood, which includes tests for sexually transmitted diseases, West Nile virus, hepatitis and other illnesses. If a unit of blood passes all these tests, it is safe for patients.

Post Donation FAQ's

Your body will replace the fluid portion of your blood within 24 hours. It will take a few weeks to replace the red blood cells.   

Approximately six months or more with a healthy diet, or one to two months with an iron supplement.

Replace iron loss by taking an oral iron supplement daily for 60 days immediately following your blood donation. We recommend taking an over-the-counter supplement or multivitamin containing 18mg of elemental iron per day. 

Most people feel fine after donating blood (having a snack helps - seriously!). Your body constantly makes new blood and the fluid you give will be replaced within hours. Eating a full meal before you donate will help you feel strong afterword. Drinking water and juice before and after donating also helps your body replenish lost fluids.

 Avoid strenuous activity for 12 hours after donating. If you are donating at a blood drive at your place of employment and have a hazardous or strenuous job, we recommend donating at the end of your shift.  

Blood Types Explained
Find the facts about different blood types, from A+ to O-. Learn more about why people have different blood types before your next blood donation.
Types of Donations
Volunteer to donate blood at a blood donation center near you. Find out how often you can donate blood and make an appointment to donate today.
Importance of Diverse Donors
Diverse blood donations improve blood transfusion outcomes for sickle cell patients and diverse blood recipients. Make an appointment to donate blood.
LGBTQ+ Donor Information
Members of the LGBTQ+ community may be able to donate blood, platelets or plasma, provided that they meet FDA eligibility requirements.