Blood Donations

Blood Donation

Donation of blood is a voluntary procedure that helps save lives of people suffering from severe blood loss. Blood donation is of several types, with each type helping meet different medical needs.

Whole blood donation

It is the commonest type of blood donation. During the procedure, about a pint of whole blood is taken from the donor which is then separated into different components— red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.


During this procedure, the donor is connected to a machine that collects his blood and separates it into different components. These components include red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Then, the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the body of the donor.

Plateletpheresis or platelet donation involves the collection of platelets only. Platelets are those blood cells that aid in the stoppage of bleeding by clumping and developing plugs or clots in the blood vessels. The donated platelets are usually transferred to patients who have cancer or clotting disorders or those patients who are about to undergo major surgeries or organ transplants.

Another type of blood donation is double red cell donation that allows the donor to donate a concentrated amount of red blood cells - the cells that are responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs. The donated red blood cells are generally transfused into patients with severe blood loss such as after an accident or injury and patients of sickle cell anaemia.

Plasmapheresis or plasma donation involves collection of the liquid part of the blood called the plasma. This liquid helps blood clot and it also contains some antibodies that help the body fight against infections. Plasma is generally transferred to patients in trauma and emergency situations so that bleeding can be stopped.

Blood is taken from a donor so that it can be given to someone who requires it. There are millions of people who depend on blood transfusions. Some may require blood during or after major surgeries, while others need it after an accident or because they suffer from a disease that requires certain components of blood. All of this is made possible by blood donation. Human blood has no substitute - all blood transfusions require a blood donor.

Risks of blood transfusion

Blood donation is quite a safe procedure. Sterile equipment is used for each donor, therefore, there is no risk of acquiring a blood borne disease or infection by donating blood. A pint of blood can be donated safely by most healthy individuals without any health risks. The body replaces the lost fluids successfully within a few days of blood donation. After around two weeks, the lost red blood cells are also replaced by the body.

To be eligible to donate whole blood, platelets or plasma, you must be:

  • In a good health condition.
  • At least 16 or 17 years old.
  • Weighing at least 110 pounds (about 50 kgs).
  • Able to pass the health-history and physical assessments and examinations.
  • Eligibility requirements slightly vary among different forms of blood donation.

Before your blood donation:

  • You must ensure that you get plenty of sleep the night before you plan to donate blood.
  • You must consume a healthy and nutritious meal before your blood donation. Avoid fatty foods, including fries, hamburgers, or ice cream.
  • You must drink an ample amount of water before the donation.
  • Sharing the history of any medications you are on currently or have recently taken with your doctor. Some medications would prevent you from donating. For example, if you are a platelet donor, you must not have taken medicines like aspirin for two days before donating platelets. Discuss with your doctor before you stop taking any medications.
  • Wear comfortable clothes with a shirt whose sleeves can be rolled up.

Before the procedure

Before donating blood, you will be directed to fill out a questionnaire or a confidential medical history. It will include questions regarding behaviours known to carry an increased risk of blood borne infections - infections that can be transmitted via blood.

Because of the risk of blood borne infections associated with blood transfusions, not everyone is eligible to donate blood. Following are groups that are not eligible for blood donation:

  • Any individual who has resorted to the use of injectable steroids, drugs, or another substance not prescribed by a health care provider in the past three months
  • Males who have had sexual intercourse with other males in the previous three months
  • Anyone with an HIV positive test
  • Anyone with a congenital coagulation factor deficiency disorder
  • Any individual who has engaged in sexual intercourse for drugs or money in the previous three months
  • Any individual who has tested COVID positive
  • Any individual who, in the previous twelve months, has had close contact with — lived with or had sexual intercourse with — a person with viral hepatitis
  • Anyone with babesiosis - a severe and rare tick-borne disease, or the parasitic infection Chagas' disease

You will also undergo a brief physical evaluation. The evaluation includes a check of your vitals including blood pressure, temperature and pulse. A small sample of blood is taken from a finger prick and is used to check the level of haemoglobin— the oxygen-carrying part of the blood. If you have met all the screening requirements and the haemoglobin concentration lies within a healthy range, you are considered fit to donate blood.

During the procedure, you are asked to lie or sit in a reclining chair with your arm extended. If you have a choice regarding which vein or arm is to be used, you can share it with the person who is collecting your blood. A tourniquet or a blood pressure cough will be placed around your upper arm so that your veins are filled with more blood. This makes the veins easily visible and it is easier for the healthcare provider to insert a needle into it. Then the area on the inside of your elbow skin is sterilised.

A sterile needle is introduced into a vein in your arm, preferably the medial cubital vein. This needle is attached to a narrow, plastic tube which is, in turn, attached to a blood bag. After the needle is fixed in place, you are asked to tighten your fist several times to help the blood flow easily from the vein. The first few millilitres of blood are collected into tubes for testing. Then blood is allowed to fill the bag, about half a litre. The needle is usually kept in place for around ten minutes. Once the blood bag is filled and the donation is over, the needle is removed, a small bandage is placed on the site where the needle was inserted and a dressing is wrapped around your arm.

After the procedure

After you donate the blood, you are asked to relax in an observation area, where you rest and have a light snack. If everything is fine, you can leave in about fifteen minutes. After your blood donation:

  • You should consume extra fluids.
  • You should not undergo strenuous physical activity or lift heavy weights for around five hours.
  • If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, just lie down with your feet up until the feeling is over.
  • Keep your bandage on and dry for the next five hours.
  • If you notice any blood or bleeding from the needle site after removing the bandage, exert some pressure on the site and keep your arm in a raised position until the bleeding stops.
  • If you notice any bruising, place a cold pack to the area periodically during the first twenty-four hours.
  • You should consider adding iron-rich foods to your diet so that the iron lost with blood donation is replaced.

You should contact the blood donor centre or your health care provider if you:

  • Notice signs and symptoms of an illness, such as a fever, within several days after your blood donation.
  • Forgot to report any important health information to the blood donation centre.
  • Are diagnosed with COVID-19 within 48 hours after donating blood.


Your blood will undergo testing so that your blood type and Rh factor status will be determined. Blood type is classified according to the ABO system as A, B, AB or O. The Rh factor refers to the absence or presence of a specific antigen - a substance that can lead to the stimulation of an immune response - in the blood. You'll be classified as Rh negative or Rh positive, which means that you do or don't carry the antigen. This is important information that needs to be taken into account as your blood type and Rh factor needs to be compatible with the blood type and Rh factor of the person who is supposed to be receiving your blood.

Your blood will also be tested for the presence or absence of blood borne diseases, including HIV and hepatitis. If these tests are found to be negative, the blood is distributed for use in hospitals and delivered to the patients who need them. If any of these tests are found to be positive, the donor centre will notify you, and your blood will be discarded.

The whole blood transfusion process involves various aspects starting from the collection of blood from the donor, testing of the collected blood, its processing and storage, and finally, transportation and delivery to the potential recipient. The Department of Laboratory Medicine at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore bears the responsibilities of storage, compatibility testing, and administration of blood components with great expertise.

Blood components are derived by separating the collected whole blood at various speeds through centrifugation. The components obtained include white cells, red cells, plasma, and thrombocytes. Each component has its own special features, including shelf life and special storage conditions. We at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore take optimum care in following the required protocols and standards while storing these components.

The time span between the collection, preparation, and storage of these blood components directly impacts their quality and effectiveness. Looking for a Blood Bank in Indore? Contact the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore which is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and advanced medical instruments. Our team follows international protocols and quality standards at all times.