Blood Donor Program

This group is for people interested in blood donation. Every six minutes, a patient at Mayo Clinic needs a transfusion of blood or blood products. A simple blood donation can save the life of a child with leukemia, restore the strength of a cancer patient, or provide a critical transfusion to an accident victim. There is no substitute for this lifesaving gift, so patients rely upon the caring spirit of blood donors. Join the discussion and learn more about blood donation!

Sep 1, 2016

Where Does Your Blood Go After a Donation?

By Bobsi, @barbarajpa


According to the American Red Cross, an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, although less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually do each year. The average blood donation takes approximately 45 minutes.  Our donors know the blood donation process well — register, complete questionnaire, short physical exam, donate, refuel with refreshments. But, what happens to the blood once the donation is complete?


At the end of each donation, samples are collected and tested to determine the blood type and ensure the blood is free of infectious diseases and safe for use.


The unit of blood is divided into at least two, sometimes three, components including red cells, platelets, and plasma. These components can help up to three patients.


The blood products are then labeled according to blood type.


The blood is then transferred to storage. Red blood cells can be kept refrigerated for 42 days. Platelets can be refrigerated for 5 days. Plasma can be frozen for up to one year.

Compatibility Test

When a physician orders a blood transfusion for a patient, the unit of blood is first tested to make sure it is compatible with the patient's blood type.


If the blood product is compatible, it is then transported to the patient's location.

Safety Check

The blood is checked to assure safe and accurate dispensing


The blood product is then transfused into the patient.

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