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!

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Thousands of Mayo Clinic patients depend on the generosity of blood donors like you. Consider making a donation to help ensure that blood is available for a loved one or other patient in need.

Who Can Donate?

Donors must:

  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be at least 17 years old

    (or 16 years old with written consent from their parents or guardian)

During the donation appointment, you will complete a brief health questionnaire with a Mayo Clinic health care professional to make sure blood donation is safe for you and for the recipient of your blood.

What's the difference between whole blood donations and double red cell, platelet, or plasma donations?

Blood contains several components, including red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, and plasma. During a whole blood donation, donors typically donate a pint of blood. During double red cell, platelet, or plasma donation (a.k.a., apheresis), your blood is collected and then separated into its components by a machine. The machine keeps the red cells, platelets, or plasma and returns the rest to you. Your blood stays confined within a single-use sterile tubing kit, so the process is completely safe.

How long does it take to donate blood?

  • Whole blood donations take approximately 45-60 minutes.
  • Double red cell donations take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Platelet or plasma donations take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center provides televisions, video-on-demand, and wireless Internet access for donors during their donations. We appreciate your time and donations, and we want to make you as comfortable as possible. Beverages and snacks await you when you’re done!

How often may I donate?

  • Whole blood donors may donate every 84 days.
  • Double red cell donors may donate every 168 days.
  • Plasma donors may donate as often as every 28 days.
  • Platelet donors may donate as often as every 8 days, but not more than 24 times in a 12-month period.

There is a waiting period between donations because for whole blood and red cell donations, the body needs to replenish its iron. For platelet and plasma donations, the body needs to replenish the platelets and plasma proteins, repectively.


Can I Donate if . . .

I'm not feling well?

No. You must be symptom-free from a cold, flu, or fever on the day of your donation.

I have traveled outside the United States in the past year?

Most traveling will not prevent you from donating blood. However, travel to some foreign countries may make donors ineligible for varying periods of time, depending on whether certain diseases are common in the country visited. Please contact the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center for details, as the criteria concerning foreign travel are subject to change.

I am under the care of a doctor or dentist for more than routine checkups?

Depending on your condition, you may still be eligible to donate. Donation is acceptable after routine teeth cleaning or dental work. Please contact the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center for more information.

I am taking medication?

Most medications do not prevent you from donating blood. Common medications such as those used to control blood pressure, birth control pills, anti-depressants, and over-the-counter medications do not affect your eligibility. If you have recently taken antibiotics, you must have completed the course of medication prior to donating. If you are taking other medications, please contact the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center before donating.

I have recently had a vaccination or immunization?

Donation is possible following most immunizations as long as you are feeling well. However, donors vaccinated for chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, and the oral polio vaccine must wait between two to four weeks after vaccination.

I have recently acquired a tattoo or body piercing?

If your procedure was performed in Iowa, Minnesota, or Wisconsin at a licensed parlor, you may donate as soon as you have healed. Other locations will require a 12-month waiting period.


How Can I Prepare for My Donation?

Make sure you eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids (especially water) before donating.

Invite Others

Send an email to invite people you know to join the Blood Donor Program page.

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