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- Why donate blood
- Who can give
- Am I eligible to donate blood?
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- Donating after travelling
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- How else can I help?
- FAQs - who can give
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- About blood
I'm ready to donate
- Australia has one of the safest blood supply systems in the world.
- You can donate whole blood every 12 weeks.
- O negative blood is universal and can be given to anyone.
- Plasma and platelet donations can be made every 2 weeks.
- Every whole blood donation can save 3 lives.
- 1 in 3 people will need blood. Only 1 in 30 gives blood.
- Australia needs over 27,000 blood donations every week.
- 470mL of blood is collected when you give whole blood.
- Within 24-48 hours of giving blood, your blood volume is completely restored.
- Giving blood only takes about an hour.
- Plasma donations can be used to make 17 different products.
- Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
- 34% of donated blood goes towards helping cancer patients.
- You can start giving blood at 16.
- The blood service has been collecting blood for over 80 years.
- You can donate double platelets – helping twice as many people.
- Platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days.
If you're new to donating or haven't donated for a while, the information below describes how you should prepare for your donation and what to expect on the day.
- The day before you donate, drink plenty of fluids, especially in warm or hot weather. Eating salty foods and snacks in the 12 hours before you donate will help you maintain your blood volume.
- Make sure that you eat something in the three hours before you donate. Savoury and salty foods are best as they help to restore your blood volume rapidly.
- In the 3 hours before donating, you should drink at least 3 good-sized glasses of water or juice.
- If you’ve got a cold or flu, had an upset stomach in the past week, 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.
- If you take any medications, it may be worthwhile writing down a list of what medications you are currently taking. This will assist our staff in accurately assessing your eligibility.
- Bring identification with you. Acceptable ID is a document (or combination of documents) which contains 3 unique pieces of personal information. These can be:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Home address
- Photo (if possible)
- You'll be asked to complete a questionnaire. This form is completely confidential and asks about your general health and is designed to protect both you and the person who receives your blood.
- You can view the questionnaire below. Please note this is a sample only and not for actual use. It should not be taken as a definitive guide to eligibility, which often requires medical interpretation.
Sample of the donor questionnaire (185 KB)
Before donating you will be interviewed by a trained staff member to assess your suitability. You'll be given a quick 'finger prick' to check your haemoglobin level is within our acceptable range and your blood pressure will be measured.
- Giving blood takes just 5-10 minutes but please allow about 60 minutes from arrival to departure. This includes time for your interview and refreshments
- Donating plasma or platelets takes about 45 minutes (allow 1.5 hours for the whole process from interview to refreshments)
- Tense and relax your calf and thigh muscles for about 5 seconds three times every minute during and immediately after your donation
- If you experience any discomfort or if you have any concerns, speak to a staff member immediately – we want to know how you are feeling
4. After your donation
After donating blood, you should rest on the chair for around 2-3 minutes.
- When you are ready, you should sit on the side of the couch with your legs over the edge for a couple more minutes, before moving through to the refreshment area
- Stay for at least 15 minutes in the refreshment area and have a cool drink and a savoury snack
To help you recover quickly from your donation:
- drink plenty of water, fruit juice etc.
- avoid alcohol for 8 hours after your donation
5. For the next 6 hours
- You should drink plenty of water/juice (at least another 3 good–sized glasses)
- You should avoid strenuous exercise (e.g. riding your pushbike, jogging, going to the gym) and you should avoid prolonged standing (e.g. waiting in a long queue, or standing on crowded public transport)
- Don’t get overheated – avoid hot showers, sitting or standing in the direct sun and choose cool drinks rather than hot drinks
- You should avoid alcoholic drinks for 6 hours and avoid smoking for at least 2 hours after you donate
If you become unwell in any way or have any questions after giving blood, call us on 13 14 95.
All equipment is sterile; needles are used only once and then discarded. In the great majority of donors, a donation of 470mL is less than 10% of your total body volume and may be given safely every 12 weeks.
To protect patients who receive blood, your donation is tested to determine your blood group and will be screened for HIV 1 & 2, hepatitis B & C, HTLV I & II and syphilis.
Before you leave the donor centre book in your next appointment
- Whole blood donors can give blood again in 12 weeks
- Plasma and platelet donors can donate as often as every 2-3 weeks
If you would like more information on what happens on the day of your donation please read our brochure What you need to know about giving blood (433 KB)