You"ve rolling up your sleeve, challenged a are afraid of needles, and also risked passing the end mid-donation. Congrats, you"re among the roughly 6.8 million people who donate blood every year! but even if you"ve shimmied onto that cot and also happily accepted your post-blood draw cookie, girlfriend still may have questions around the process. We"ve answered some of the large ones.

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1. Where does the donated blood go?

When friend needle up for the American Red Cross, they collect approximately one pint that blood and also several test tubes—all the which room stored in iced coolers until they have the right to be transported come an official Red cross center. Indigenous there, the samples space spun in centrifuges to different the red cells, platelets, and plasma, and the tubes are sent out for experimentation at one of three national labs.

Samples the come back disease-free room then stored at the center—red cells critical in a 6 ºC frozen fridge for as much as 42 days; platelets continue to be at room temperature in agitators up to five days; plasma can be frozen for as much as a year—until they room shipped to a hospital because that use.

2. What execute they test for?

Your vials undergo a dozen tests designed to both establish blood form and to weed out donations laced with contagious diseases, such together HIV, hepatitis B and also C, and syphilis. If her sample tests positive for something, her donation will be trashed, but on the upside they"ll reach out and also let friend know around your diagnosis and offer counseling with a trained professional.

3. What precisely are platelets, anyway?

Platelets are the tiny, disc-shaped particles inside your blood that aid it to clot. They"re required for patient with diseases such as aplastic anemia and leukemia that hamper the body"s ability to clot and for patients who room undergoing major surgeries. Platelets are separated from your red blood cell after girlfriend donate and also can just be stored up to five days. Thus, maintaining a large enough supply can be one issue.

4. Exactly how much blood is necessary to save a life?

It relies on the situation. According to the American Red Cross, the average red blood cabinet transfusion is around 3 pints, but a solitary car accident victim could need up to 100 pints.

5. Are details blood types more valuable than others?


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Yes. O confident is the most usual blood type in America—belonging to around 38 percent that the population—and thus, the most likely to be necessary for a transfusion. (Type A hopeful ranks second at 34 percent that the population.) O negative blood types—that"s around 7 percent the people—are thought about the global donor because their blood have the right to be given to anyone. The least common blood type? abdominal muscle negative—belonging to just 1 percent that people.

6. Just how many human being donate each year?

Not enough. The American Red Cross estimates that much less than 38 percent of the unified States populace is eligible to donate blood at any kind of given moment—but much less than 10 percent of those world do. Every year, approximately 6.8 million donors offer 13.6 million units of blood. That may sound favor a lot, but about 36,000 units room needed across the U.S. Every day and also because that the quick shelf-life, it"s complicated to develop up an perform of blood if a many is necessary quickly.

7. Who isn"t eligible to donate?

Some states allow 16-year-olds to donate with parental consent, yet most require blood givers to it is in at the very least 17. You also have to sweet a minimum that 110 pounds and also be in great general health. (If you have actually a cold, flu, or fever, you will certainly be turned away.) gift a people traveler could also be one issue. Those who have recently visited nations where conditions such together malaria or the Zika virus are typical are required to wait a set amount the time prior to offering increase a vein. Piercings and tattoos can additionally temporarily protect against you native donating depending upon how long ago you gained them.

8. Is over there any method to rate up the process?

While the Red Cross approximates donating blood have the right to take an ext than one hour—from the time you fill the end your paperwork till you accept the post-donation cookie—you can reduced out part time through RapidPass. Users complete forms online, then publish them off and bring them to the donation site. For a true walk-in, walk-out experience you can additionally schedule one appointment. Once you"re all set up, the actual blood attract only takes about 10 minutes.

9. How does mine body replace the blood lost?

The mean adult has between 10 and 12 pints the blood in their body. Because your bone marrow churns out a constant supply of red cells, plasma, and platelets, the plasma you offer is changed within the very first 24 hours.

10. Wait, climate why perform I have to wait 56 days between donations?


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While the plasma is replenished quickly, it have the right to take 4 to 6 weeks for her body to manufacture the red blood cell that are lost. If you"re only donating platelets, which her body replaces in ~ a day, friend can give again after a week. However, you"re limited to only 24 total platelet donations a year.

11. Carry out I should do anything one-of-a-kind after donating?

The American Red Cross argues replacing the lost iron with foodstuffs such together spinach, beans, and red meat and also drinking an extra 4 to 8 ounces the non-alcoholic liquid. They likewise advise against doing hefty lifting and also recommend maintaining your bandage on because that at least 5 hours. (Bonus: that makes it simpler to brag to her friends around your largesse!)

12. Why perform they ask for my ethnicity?

According come the new York Blood Center, understanding your race renders it simpler to enhance your blood through a needy recipient. "Blood varieties and antigens are inherited, similar to eye and also hair color," reads an entrance on their website. "Searching for very precise transfusion matches have the right to be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so it provides sense to begin with donors that the exact same ethnic or gyeongju background as the transfusion recipient." A recent piece in The brand-new York Times concurs: "While no one is arguing forced segregation of blood bags, it"s currently scientifically created that blood deserve to be racially or country specific."

13. Have the right to you really do money donating blood?

You can score between $20 and $45 for donating plasma at one of the 530 licensed and IQPP certified plasma collection centers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The process is similar to donating blood, except that once the whole blood is drawn, the plasma is be separate out and also the remainder of the blood is went back to your body. (The totality procedure takes in between 90 minutes and also two hours.) However, this plasma commonly doesn"t go directly to disease-stricken donees. Instead, it"s offered to pharmaceutical companies who use it to develop medicine because that a variety of conditions.

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14. Deserve to I donate blood come myself?

Yes, yet it takes some legwork. You have the right to do what"s dubbed an autologous donation—where girlfriend donate blood to be used on yourself during a surgical treatment or planned medical procedure—but you"ll require a prescription from your doctor.

15. Is there any substitute for blood?

Not yet. Yet the American Red Cross says they room diligent about tracking research that might assist identify an alternative. "The Red Cross proactively follows blood substitute research," reads a note on your site, "and works very closely with other institutions that develop brand-new transfusion alternatives."