The Donation Process
Before you give blood:
- EAT - Consume an iron-rich meal before you donate. For meal tips, click here.
- HYDRATE - Drinking 8-10 glasses of fluid 1-2 days before you give will help make veins more visible, help you feel more energized after donation and more.
- Rest - Get a good night's sleep before you donate.
- Avoid aspirin - If you're planning on donating platelets, avoid aspirin products or blood-thinning medications for 2 days prior to donation.
- Provide consent - If you're 16-years-old, we will need consent forms signed by your parents. Click here to download the forms.
- Are you eligible? - If you have questions about your eligibility, or need to ask about a specific medication, please call our eligibility specialists at (800) 292-5534, ext. 2243, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can also email us here.
Here are additional resources to help you prep for donation:
- Blood Donor Educational Materials (English/Spanish) - read this for more info on eligibility and the donation process.
- How to have a pleasant donation experience (English / Spanish)
- Travel information
- Medication Deferral List
- STBTC Medication List
- vCJD (aka Mad Cow Disease) - List of Countries at Risk
- Medication List for Platelet Donors
The blood donation process:
- You will be asked to present a form of picture ID.
Next up is completion of a health history questionnaire concerning your medical history, lifestyle and risk of exposure to infectious agents. Your answers to these questions will help us determine whether or not you are an eligible donor.
- If you meet the requirements for donating blood, you will then go through a screening process. At this time a technician will take important vital signs, such as pulse, temperature, blood pressure and iron-level check. This initial screening process and physical exam takes approximately 30 minutes.
- After you have passed the screening and medical exam, a technician directs you to the donor area where you sit in a comfortable position and proceed with donation. A technician will swab your arm inside the elbow (to prevent infection) and insert a needle into a vein. New, sterile equipment (needle, bag, tubing, etc.) is used for each donor.
- After the donation, the needle is removed and a sterile bandage is put on your arm. You can then enjoy some refreshments.
For a comfortable donation:
- Please ask for assistance if you'd like to adjust your arm position while donating.
- Be sure to use the restroom prior to donating.
What are the do's/don't after you donate blood?
24 hours to save a life
Have you ever wondered what happens after your blood donation? The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center explains the process here.