A blood donor at Virginia Blood Services (VBS) is a special kind of volunteer. By committing about an hour of your time, you can donate a gift more precious than time or money: the gift of life through blood. One donation of blood can help support up to three patients’ lives.
VBS provides blood services to hospitals and dialysis centers throughout central Virginia and beyond. We are fortunate to live in a region where sophisticated medical facilities and transplant programs are available; however, these programs require many blood donations.
It is important to eat before donating blood.
Do not give blood on an empty stomach.
After you register, you will complete your health questionnaire using the VBS Quality Donor System, a touch screen computer program that allows you to complete your health questionnaire quickly and with complete privacy. Staff will show you how to navigate the system and will be available to answer questions you may have.
Next, you are given a mini-physical. A technician checks your blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature and the iron content of your blood to make sure they are within acceptable limits for you to donate.
While donating blood, you will recline in a comfortable chair. Blood will be drawn through a needle near the bend of your arm. A whole blood donation takes approximately 10 minutes. If you are giving blood using automated blood collection technology, your donation may take from 25 to 120 minutes, depending on the type of procedure selected.
After your donation, you should sit, rest for five to 10 minutes and enjoy refreshments. Be sure to eat nourishing meals and drink plenty of liquids for 24 hours after giving blood, and follow the post-donation instructions provided.
What does it take to be a blood donor?
Donors must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. (Written consent is required for 16-year –old donors.) Our donor history form and mini-physical quickly tell donors if there is any reason why they should not give blood. If you question your ability to donate, you should sign up and talk to a blood service representative.
Occasionally, people who want to donate blood must be temporarily deferred. This does not mean that they can never give blood again. In nearly every case, after a short period of time, they will be able to donate again.