-A +A
Printer-friendly version

FAQs - ready to donate

If you have a question about the donation process please take a look at the FAQs below.

You can also check the full list of FAQs for comprehensive information on blood donation.

Arranging an appointment
  1. 01

    You can call us on 13 14 95. Our staff can answer any questions and also organise a time for you to come in to donate.

    You can also book an appointment online.

  2. 02

    If you would like to make an apppointment or ask a question about donating,
    please call us on 13 14 95.

    Our contact centre is based in Adelaide and is open during the following times.

    Please note all times are Australian Central Standard Time.

    Monday 06.30 - 21.00
    Tuesday 06.30 - 21.00
    Wednesday 06.30 - 21.00
    Thursday 06.30 - 21.00
    Friday 06.30 - 19.30
    Saturday 08.30 - 16.30
    Sunday and
    National Public Holidays       
    08.30 - 16.30
  3. 03

    Some donor centres are open on the weekend. Find out where your nearest donor centre is and what their opening hours are.

  4. 04

    There are a number of mobile units available across the country. Call us on 13 14 95 to find out if there’s one in your area.

  5. 05

    Call us on 13 14 95 with details of where and when your group will be donating and we’ll let you know if a courtesy bus is available. As the buses can get booked up quickly please give us as much notice as possible.

The donation process
  1. 01

    Before you come in and donate you should:

    • Eat something substantial - this might be cereal and toast for breakfast or a sandwich for lunch. Please don't come in on an empty stomach.
    • Drink plenty of liquid the day before your donation, especially in warm weather.
    • Consider whether you feel well enough to donate. If you've got a cold or flu, had a stomach upset in the past, or you’ve been to the dentist recently you may not be able to donate. Call us on 13 14 95 to find out and we can reschedule your appointment if necessary.
  2. 02

    When you come in to donate you'll be welcomed by our staff and will go through the following steps

    • Arrival - you’ll be asked to complete a donor questionnaire, which asks about your general health and is completely confidential. It is designed to protect both you and the person who receives your blood.
    • Interview - each time you donate, you will be interviewed by a staff member and given a health check which includes checking your haemoglobin level and blood pressure.
    • Giving blood - you should allow about 1 hour from start to finish but the process of donating takes about 5-10 minutes
    • Relax and refresh - afterwards, you’ll be able to relax in our refreshment area with a bite to eat and a drink. Within 24-48 hours of donating, your blood volume is completely restored.
  3. 03

    We suggest you allow about an hour for your visit.
    A standard whole blood collection only takes 5-10 minutes, but it also takes time to fill out the questionnaire, be interviewed privately and enjoy a rest and refreshment afterwards. For your safety it is strongly recommended that you rest for 15 minutes after the blood donation to minimise the risk of fainting.

    A plasma donation takes a bit longer - about 45 minutes for the collection component.

  4. 04
    • Whole blood donations can be made every 12 weeks.
    • Whole blood donors under 18 can give blood every 12 months.
    • Plasma or platelet donations can be made every 2-3 weeks.
  5. 05

    Your energy level won’t be affected after giving blood but you should avoid strenuous exercise or high-energy activities for 12 hours after donating. Drinking plenty of water will help your body recover.

  6. 06

    Donating blood is a very safe process. Each donor’s blood is collected through a new, sterile needle that is used once and then discarded. Occasionally, problems arise and you can reduce the chances of this happening by following this advice.

    Your health is very important to the Blood Service. If you feel unwell at any time before, during or after your donation, or you experience pain, it is very important to tell the staff immediately.  Even if you start feeling unwell after you leave the donor centre, please call us on 13 14 95 so that you can receive advice on how to manage your symptoms most effectively.

    Find out more about adverse donation events.

  7. 07

    Some people are nervous about donating in case it hurts.

    There’s nothing to worry about, but you don’t have to take our word for it… “I am not scared of needles but I was definitely nervous the first time I gave blood, but it really doesn’t hurt.”
    - Sarah, Burnie High School, TAS

  8. 08

    The Blood Service tests each donation for ABO (blood type) and Rhesus groups (i.e. positive or negative) and red cell antibodies. We also test for five transfusion-transmissible infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, human T-cell lymphotropic virus [HTLV], and syphilis) using eight different tests. Specifically, we test for antibody to hepatitis C, the hepatitis B surface antigen, antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2, antibody to HTLV types I and II and antibodies to syphilis.

    The Blood Service also tests all donations for HIV-1 and hepatitis C RNA, as well as hepatitis B DNA, using Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT). This process is different from traditional testing because it looks for the actual presence of viruses, in this case HIV, HCV and HBV. Most other tests detect the presence of antibodies, which are the body's response to an infection and which take time to develop. NAT provides an opportunity to further improve the safety of the blood supply by reducing the 'window period', which is the time between exposure to a virus to the time current tests are able to detect antibodies to the virus.

    The Blood Service also tests for malaria. This additional testing will be performed if:

    • in the previous 3 years you have visited an at-risk country; or
    • you lived in an at-risk country for 6 or more months continuously, at any stage of your life; or
    •  you have ever had malaria.

    Does the Blood Service notify donors of test results? How long will it take to get notification of abnormal results?

    The Blood Service notifies a donor of any abnormal results on infectious disease and red cell antibody screening once testing is completed – usually within 2 weeks. The donor is advised about their health implications of the positive tests. The information is confidential and released only to the donor and agencies as required by law – such as the State Department of Health.

    If I am not contacted, does that mean that I'm OK and have no disease?

    No. The purpose of tests conducted by the Blood Service is as a screen to ensure the safest possible transfusions. The testing is confined only to a specific group of blood borne diseases for which there are suitable high volume tests. Donors should not rely on this testing for their own personal health screening.

    I received a letter from the Blood Service about a false reactive result. The letter said it was nothing to worry about, but I had a re-test with my doctor to make sure and it was negative. Does this mean I can donate again?

    Please call the Blood Service on 13 14 95 and ask to speak to Medical Services for more information regarding any test results before donating.

  9. 09

    Australia has one of the safest blood supplies in the world and the Blood Service needs your help to maintain these standards. All blood donations are tested for viruses including HIV, hepatitis B & C, however there is a period of time after a person first becomes infected with a virus during which the infection may not be detectable (often referred to as the ‘window period’). So, the person’s blood could still transmit a disease if transfused to a patient, even though their tests were negative and there was no sign of infection at the time of donation. Also, tests are not available for infections such as vCJD (mad cow diseases). For this reason, a thorough screening process is essential.

  10. 10

    A major component of our screening process is designed to identify those people who are at a greater risk of transmitting blood borne infections. In order to safeguard the blood supply it is imperative that these people do not give blood. All screening measures must meet stringent regulatory requirements. While the process is lengthy and may seem intrusive, it is absolutely necessary to safeguard the blood supply.

  11. 11

    The questions in the Donor Questionnaire form are designed to understand your recent travel, changes to your health/lifestyle and changes in medication since your last attendance. At each donation, based on the answers you provide, our staff will determine if you can safely donate and whether your donation can be used for patients. It is also a state and territory government legal requirement that the Donor Declaration is signed prior to each donation.

  12. 12

    No. The Blood Service receives only voluntary  donations of blood. This is in keeping with international World Health Organisation and Red Cross policy that encourages the concept of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation to support safe blood supply.