Blood Donor Basics

Types of Donations

Whole blood is the most common type of blood collection. The whole blood donation is separated into two components (red blood cells and plasma) which can be given to two different patients in need.

Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days (8 weeks).

Automated blood collections use a machine to collect a specific combination of blood products needed. Red Blood Cells, Plasma and Platelets may all be collected using this method.

  • Double Red Blood Cell Collection

Donors may choose to “double their donation” using the automated blood collection machine to collect two units of red blood cells instead of one. If you are interested in “doubling-up” your donation, please ask staff to see if you qualify.

Double red blood cell donors can donate every 112 days (16 weeks).

  • Platelet Collection

Platelets are a specific type of blood component given to patients to help stop bleeding. Platelets are only viable for 5 days once collected so the need for platelet donors is constant. If you are interested in donating platelets, please ask staff to see if you qualify.

Platelet donors can donate every 7 days or up to 24 times a year.

Donor Eligibility

The Donation Process

Frequently Asked Questions

Donors must be at least 16 years old.

  1. 16-year-old donors must have parent/guardian consent form signed.
  2. 16-year-old donors are not eligible to donate using the automated blood collection process.

Donors 17 and over must weigh 110 lbs. or more. Donors age 16 must weigh 120 lbs. and be at least 5 feet tall.

You may be able to donate while taking blood pressure medication as long as your blood pressure is under control (below 180/100). A technician will check your blood pressure during the screening process to ensure it meets this requirement.

No. Donors should be healthy and well at the time of donation, free of colds, cold sores, open cuts or sores, and infections.

Platelet donors should refrain from taking any medication with aspirin for forty-eight (48) hours before donation. Click here to review a list of medications containing aspirin.

Aspirin is acceptable for all other donation types.

The draw itself causes a mild pinch feeling for only a second. During the rest of the four to ten minutes that the blood is being drawn, you should feel no discomfort.

The Dak Minn Blood Bank is a volunteer donor center. In accordance with the FDA, donor centers providing blood products for patient transfusions are not allowed to pay for volunteer donations.

One pint or roughly 450-500 milliliters. This is a small amount, considering the average person has 2 pints of blood in their body for every 25 pounds they weigh.

Whole blood donors can donate every 56 days (8 weeks).
Double red blood cell donors can donate every 112 days (16 weeks).
Platelet donors can donate every 7 days or up to 24 times a year.

Red Blood Cells expire in 42 days
Plasma expires in 365 days
Platelets expire in 5 days

After you donate our laboratory will type your blood. You will receive a blood type card in the mail after your donation.

Get enough sleep to feel rested the night before donating.
Have a nutritious fulfilling meal within four or five hours of donating.
Drink plenty of hydrating fluids (water/milk/juice) prior to and the day of donation.

The entire process including registration, health questionnaire, physical exam, blood draw, and refreshments takes about 45 minutes. The actual blood draw averages from 4-10 minutes.

Yes. In accordance with the FDA, donors must answer screening questions each time they donate to protect their own health and maintain the safety of the blood supply.

You should feel great after donating!

Some donors experience a slight weakness, which lasts for only an hour or so after giving blood. Since the average person has ten to twelve pints of blood in their body, giving up just one of these pints is hardly physically noticeable.

To enhance recovery drink plenty of hydrating fluids (water/milk/juice) and have a nutritious meal following donation.

Donors can engage in light or moderate activity after donating. Remember to adequately rehydrate after donating.

Strenuous exercise/heavy lifting can safely be resumed 24 hours after donation.

Competitive athletes should refrain from donation the day of a game/competition or race.

Most individuals can return to work after donating blood. Certain occupations such as pilots, heavy equipment operators, linemen, etc. may have specific restrictions from their employer or governing agencies. These individuals should check with their employer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets the regulation for the questions asked of donors prior to each donation. Blood banks must use the questions exactly as defined by the FDA.

At this time during the COVID-19 outbreak, all donations are by appointment only. This enables us to provide a safe environment for donors and staff.

As long as the tattoo or piercing was done by a state licensed and regulated facility you are eligible to donate once it is healed. North Dakota and Minnesota are regulated states along with many other states.

Most medications are acceptable! This list contains medications that have a holding period before donation. Call Dak Minn Blood Bank with specific questions.

All blood products collected by Dak Minn Blood Bank are provided to Altru Health System or other regional facilities for transfusion to patients in need.

All blood types are needed every day! To view the status of our current blood supply click here.

Pregnant women are not allowed to donate. Depending on the method of delivery donors must wait a minimum of 6 weeks or longer after giving birth.

Breastfeeding mothers may donate blood. Drink plenty of hydrating fluids (water/milk/juice) before and after donation.

In many cases, if you have lived or traveled outside of the United States you can still donate. There are certain restrictions for living in and travel to Europe. Restrictions also apply to certain malaria-endemic areas. Call Dak Minn Blood Bank with specific travel-related questions.

Blood Types