Blood donation in India and all parts of te world according to Red Cross guidelines and WHO. A bottle dangling during blood donation or plasma donation being shown

Donating Platelet Plasma and Blood

There are several derivatives of blood donation along with pure blood donation. The Red Cross lays guidelines for it all over the world. Let us learn them one by one in detail:


Table of Content
  1. How does blood donation process work?
  2. Registration for blood donation
  3. What should be done after donating the blood?
  4. Does it hurt while inserting the needle?
  5. Duration of blood donation process
  6. How long does it take to revive the level of blood donated?
  7. Why does Red Cross ask so many questions before blood donation?
  8. How often can we donate blood?
  9. Who can donate blood?
  10. Blood donation preparation
  11. Platelet donation
  12. What are platelets and how they can be used?
  13. Unable to give blood?
  14. General Health Conditions
  15. Medical Conditions that affect Blood Donation Eligibility
  16. Blood Pressure during Blood Donation
  17. Hosting Blood Donation
  18. Types of Blood Donation
  19. Whole Blood Donation in India
  20. Power Red Donation
  21. Platelet Donation
  22. Plasma Donation



Blood Donation Process

How does the blood donation process work?

Blood donation procedure: Donating blood is a good deed, it’s a simple process that can bring about a big difference to one’s life. This whole process would consume an hour as you need to follow different procedures before the blood donation takes place. The blood donation itself may take 10-15 minutes on average.

The below mentioned are the steps taken:

Registration for Blood Donation

1.    The donor needs to register which would include some of their personal information such as name, address, phone number or donor identification number (if one has).

2.    The donor needs to carry an identification proof like a donor’s card, driver’s license or any other two ID proofs (as may be asked) at the donor site.


Health History and Mini Physical

1.    They may conduct a mini interview so that they may understand your health history and the places you visit (an overview of your lifestyle)

2.    They check your temperature, hemoglobin, blood pressure and the pulse.



1.    The professionals at the donation centre clear an area on the arm and inject a completely new sterile needle to draw blood.

2.    The blood passes through a tube into a bag and meanwhile they may ask you to rest as the blood flows from your body. They give you a spongy ball that you need to press by your fist to allow 0smooth flow of blood (blood donation in an average takes 10-15 minutes. In case you are donating platelets, RBCs or plasma by apheresis – it may take up to 2 hours).

3.    When they collect a pint of blood, the staff would stop the process by ejecting out the needle and would place a bandage on your arm.



1.    Once the whole process is complete, they ask you to proceed for refreshment to adjust your body to the fluid loss.

2.    After a minimum of 5 minutes of relaxing you can proceed with your daily routine.

3.    Enjoy this procedure and repeat it whenever you get a chance as you are supporting lives.

Your blood can support up to three lives. Donated RBCs have a shelf-life of up to 42 days. A healthy donor can help in donating at an interval of 56 days.


What should be done after donating blood?

There is need of the following precautions after blood donation:

Drink at least 4 glasses of non-alcoholic drinks.

•    Keep the area bandaged and dry for 5 five hours and make sure you do not do any heavy exercise or weight lifting.

•    If the needled area starts bleeding, raise your arm straight up and press on the site to stop the bleeding.

•    After donation, your body is a bit weak so take proper precautionary measures, and if you feel dizzy avoid doing any activity.

•    Eat healthily and add iron-rich foods to your diet

•    If you find any bruise- apply ice to the area for 10-15 minutes during the first 24 hours then apply warm moist water for 10-15 minutes. For a couple of days you might see a rainbow of colors occur.

•    Just when you feel dizzy, stop all your activity and lie down straight and raise your feet until you start feeling better again.

•    Make sure you feel good that you have donated blood and supported to save lives.

•    Get ready for your next appointment.


Does it hurt while inserting the needle?

You may feel a pinch for a few seconds when they insert the needle. It feels like a mosquito bite. The pain subsides as its insertion is over.


What is duration of the blood donation process?

The entire process of blood donation would take approximately one hour and 15 minutes. It takes 10-15 minutes on average to donate a pint of blood. The duration would slightly differ from person to person on several factors like the donor’s health history and the interval between blood donation drives.


How long it takes to revive the level of the blood being donated?

Within 24 hours of your donation, experts at the donation centre do plasma replacement. The RBCs take around 4-6 weeks for complete replacement. Hence, it is advisable to donate blood after the completion of 8 weeks as it is healthy for the donor.


Why does the Red Cross ask so many questions before donation?

It is the responsibility of the Red Cross to make sure that the donor does not face any problem after blood donation. Some people may be developing risks of communicable diseases unknowingly through blood donation due to traveling, eating habits or any other activity. This helps them ensure that the blood donated to the patient is safe and it is safe for you to is safe to donate blood on that day.


How often can blood be donated?

An interval of 8 weeks i.e., 56 days is advisable for blood donation and 16 weeks i.e., 112 days between Power Red donations.  You can donate platelet apheresis 24 times per year i.e., on an average after every 7 days is safe.


Who can donate blood?

A donor must be 17 years of age and above. Some states do allow 16-year-olds to donate by only with the consent form filled by their guardians. A donor must weigh at least 50 kgs i.e., 110 pounds and be in good health condition. Eligibility might differ in certain circumstances.


Blood donation preparation

Can children be brought to the site?

Children who are good observers and do not need supervision are allowable to the site. If the child is disruptive and needs supervision then an adult should accompany the child.


Platelet Donation

What is apheresis? 

The process that helps collect platelets and RBCs or plasma from a donor is known as Apheresis.

Apheresis is a Greek word which means ‘to take away’. A cell separator is used to conduct this process. The process involves collection of blood from donors, separation of platelets with the help of cell separator. After this, the blood is returned to the donor at the donation centre. The whole process takes approximately 1-2 hours. Meanwhile, donors can watch movies or relax.


What are platelets and what is their use?

The tiny, colorless, disc-shaped particles which circulate in the blood and support in blood clotting are the Platelets. Sometimes patients suffer from clotting issue that is the time when they need platelets donation. Clotting problems due to aplastic anemia, leukemia, cancer or when there is an organ transplant or some major surgery life heart bypass grafts. The shelf life of a platelet is 5 days after its collection. So at good intervals, it needs its collection.


How often can one give platelets?

Every 7 days i.e., 24 times in a year one can donate platelet.


Medication and Vaccination during blood donation


Aspirin helps to reduce the time-period to donate blood. For example if to take in aspirin on a Sunday, latest you can donate blood platelets is on Wednesday. The wait is for 2 days after the intake of Aspirin.



If a person who suffers from some acute infection is advised not to donate. An antibiotic is prescribed to recover oneself from a bacterial infection that is transmissible by blood.

The donor is good enough to donate only after s/he has completed the oral dose of the antibiotic 1-2 days prior. If the antibiotic is injected to the blood then the gap should be of a minimum 10 days. This is only applicable if antibiotic is taken for the following causes- acne, chronic prostatitis, peptic ulcer, periodontal problems, dental problems, rosacea, ulcerative colitis, after splenectomy, or valvular heart disease. If your temperature is above 99.5, you cannot donate.


Birth Control

Women who are using contraceptive pills or other birth control methods are eligible to donate.


Immunization / Vaccination

•    You can donate if you are vaccinated for influenza, tetanus or meningitis, provided that you are free from the cause. This includes Tdap vaccine.

•    If you received an HPV Vaccine like Gradasil.

•    Vaccinated with SHINGRIX (shingles vaccine), your donation is acceptable. This vaccination takes place in two shots and the gap between the two is 2-6 months. This is different from Zostavax, which one takes in one shot and requires 4 week deferral.

•    A wait of 4 weeks is required if you had vaccination due to ailments like Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Chicken pox and Zostavax.

•    Wait for 2 weeks if you are immunized for Red Measles, Mumps, Polio and Yellow Fever vaccine.

•    A wait of 21 days if you are immunized for hepatitis B

•    Smallpox vaccination did not develop complications

It is important to not donate for 56 days i.e., 8 weeks after you suffered from small pox and were vaccinated and not developed any complication like skin reaction or illness. Once one is stable enough to resume back to normal life activities, it is safe for them to donate.

  Smallpox vaccination and developed complication

Wait for 56 days i.e., 8 weeks from the day the small pox vaccine is given and 14 days till you recover from all the ailments whichever is longer. While the time of donation, do discuss about the same with the doctor. You might face complications like skin reactions or general illness.

•    Smallpox vaccination- in case you were around someone who suffered from small pox and was vaccinated in the last 8 weeks and you managed to not suffer from the same. You can donate.

•    Smallpox vaccination- if your close one suffered from smallpox and took vaccination in the last 8 weeks and you have also developed skin irritation or any other symptom. Wait for 8 weeks from the date of the first sore. Do discuss the same with the health checker at the donation time. As complications may include skin problems or general illness.


Insulin (Bovine)

Donors who suffer from the 1980s must have used bovine insulin that contains beef extrated from cattle that are not eligible to donate. This may develop ‘Mad Cow’ disease.



In any of the cases, you won’t disqualify as a donor. The eligibility is based on the medical conditions followed. If you are healthy, you are permissible to donate.

There are a few drugs that have special significance in the donation. People consuming these drugs have a certain waiting period they need to follow:

•    1 month wait from the last dose- Accutane, Amnesteem, Absorica, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret or Zenatane (isotretinoin), Proscar (finasteride), and Propecia (finasteride)

•    6 months waiting from the last dose- Avodart or Jalyn (dutasteride)

•    2 days waiting from the dose taken- you need to wait for two days after you have taken aspirin or any medication that includes aspirin.

•    7 days waiting after intake- Usually, there is no need to wait to donate blood after the intake of Effient (prasugrel) and Brilinta (ticagrelor) but it is advised to have a gap of a week before donating platelets by apheresis.

•    7 days waiting- blood thinner medicines like Arixtra (fondaparinux), Coumadin, Warfilone, Jantoven (warfarin) and Heparin.

•    2 days waiting- after you discontinue the intake of blood thinner medicines like- Fragmin (dalteparin), Eliquis (apixaban), Pradaxa (dabigatran), Savaysa (edoxaban), Xarelto (rivaroxaban), and Lovenox (enoxaparin)

•    Wait for 12 months if you suffered from Hepatitis B

•    3 years waiting- Soriatane (acitretin)

•    2 years waiting- Erivedge (vismodegib) and Odomzo (sonidegib)

•    2 years waiting- Aubagio (teriflunomide)

•    Not eligible to donate blood ever- Tegison (etretinate)


Unable to give blood?

Due to any reason in case you are not eligible to donate blood, then do volunteer or host a blood donation event through the Red Cross. You can also support financially by making donations. Remember you are helping a life to take a step forward.


General Health Considerations

Cold / Flu

•    Wait if you suffer from any flu

•    Do not donate if you don’t feel good on the day of donation

•    Wait until your dose of antibiotics is over for sinus, throat or lung infection.


Weight and Height

You must weigh 50 kgs to be eligible for blood donation and this should be for your safety.

 It is advisable to donate after the age of 18 years and in case if the donor is below 18 years of age then s/he should meet the other criteria like height and weight (this would apply for girls shorter than 5’6” and boys shorter than 5’).

The donation of blood depends upon the height and weight of an individual. If you want to increase the limit of the donation, consult the doctor.


Allergy, Stuffy Nose, Itchy Eyes, Dry Cough

You can donate only if you don’t feel feverish or breathing problem



Donation Interval

•    Take a gap of 8 weeks between whole blood donations.

•    Take a gap of 7 days between the platelet donations.

•    Need to take a gap of 16 weeks between Power Red donations.


Malaria is a disease that is suffered due to the mosquito bite and can be transmitted through blood. During blood donation, they do not test malaria as there is no instant test available for this.

In case you traveled to a malaria risk country or state or suffered from the same, it is advised to wait for a certain period before donating blood.

•    Do not donate for 3 years after you suffered from malaria.

•    Do not donate for 1 year after you have visited a malaria-risk sate or country

•    Not to donate for 3 years if you lived in a country that is more sensitive to malaria.


Even people who have spent a long time in a country where ‘mad cow disease’ is common are not considerable as eligible to donate.


Zika Virus

If you were subject to Zika Virus then hold on for 120 days after recovery and then donate.


Ebola Virus

If you have Ebola virus infection or suffered from the same, you are not eligible to donate.


Medical Conditions that affect Blood Donation Eligibility 


Blood is acceptable as long as you are well and suffer from no fever or have no breathing issues.



Donation is acceptable as long as you have no difficulties in your daily activities and breathing problems during donation and you feel fine with your health. Asthma treatment doesn’t disqualify anyone from blood donation.


Bleeding Condition

 Inform the health historian about your bleeding problem so that s/he can ask you every relevant question to make sure your well-being is not under compromise. And also if you are taking any blood thinner such as- Atrixa (fondaparinux), Coumadin (warfarin), Eliquis (apixaban), Fragmin (dalteparin), Heparin, Jantoven (warfarin), Lovenox (enoxaparin), Pradaxa (dabigatran), Savaysa (edoxaban), Warfilone (warfarin), Xarelto (rivaroxaban)  then too you shouldn’t donate.


Blood Pressure during Blood Donation (High or Low)

High Blood Pressure: at the time of donation, your systolic (first number) should be below 180 and diastolic (second number) should be below 100. Any medication for high blood pressure doesn’t stop you from blood donation.

Low Blood Pressure: your systolic should be 90 and diastolic should be at least 50 to comfortably donate blood.



Your eligibility for donating completely depends upon the treatment history. If you suffer from leukemia or lymphoma, which includes Hodgkin’s Disease and other blood cancers, you are not eligible to donate. If you have any other kinds of cancer and were treated well then after 12 months of successful recovery you can donate blood. In case the cancer cells like squamous or basal cells have been removed from your cell then you do not need to wait for 12 months.

Even the precancerous conditions of the uterine cervix do not disqualify one from donating blood but in whichever case a discussion with the doctor is important.


Chronic Illness

Most of the chronic illness are accepted as long as you do not feel weak and meet other eligibility criteria.


CJD, vCJD, Mad Cow Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) if you underwent a transplant or human pituitary growth hormone, you are not eligible to donate. Also one suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is not eligible to donate blood.


Diabetic people who are under oral medication or insulin can also donate blood.


Heart Disease

A person who did not suffer from any heart related symptoms like chest pain in the last six months is eligible to donate.

It is advised to wait for:

  •           6 months following an episode of angina
  •           6 months after an attack
  •          Six months after a bypass surgery or angioplasty
  •          Six months after your medication for heart disease has changed
  • If you have a pacemaker you can donate as long as your pulse rate is between 50 and 100 beats per minute.  Discuss other heart issues with the historian before donating.
  • Heart Murmur, Heart Valve Disorder – If you haven’t suffered from Heart Murmur for the last 6 months then you are eligible to donate.
  • Hemochromatosis (Hereditary) – Some countries do not accept donors who suffer from Hemochromatosis.
  • Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Blood Count – Hemoglobin level should be at least 12.5 g/dl for women and men should be at least 13.0 g/dl. But in general, for all donors, the hemoglobin level should be at least 20 g/dl.


For Power Red the eligibility of hemoglobin is different.

Hepatitis / Jaundice

If you have symptoms of hepatitis caused by a virus or any symptoms of jaundice do not donate blood. If you ever had Hepatitis B or C test and results show that you have not suffered jaundice, still it is advisable not to donate blood.


Hepatitis Exposure

In case you have had sexual contact with anybody who suffered hepatitis, do not donate blood for the next 1 year.

If you were behind the bars for 3 days, you are not eligible to donate for 1 year.

If you suffer from work pressure or is more enthusiast in weekend party plans, you are prone to develop infectious diseases.



You should not donate if you have ever had HIV or did something that can infect you with HIV.

The risks can be developed due to:

•    Ever took drugs or used needles that were not doctor prescribed

•    If male was sexual contact with another male, do not donate for 1 year

•    If you paid sexual activity or drugs

•    Were in the sexual involvement with any of the above description

One who has been into any of the situations should not give blood as they can be prone to HIV / AIDS. If you face any of the below-mentioned symptoms- Fever, enlarged lymph glands, sore throat, rash.



Do not donate until you have completely recovered the infection.

Wait for10 days after the dose of your last antibiotic.

Anyone suffering from Chagas Disease, Babesiosis or Leishmaniasis should not donate blood.


Sickle Cell

Those who have sickle cell threat should not donate blood.


Skin Disease, Rash / Acne

If you suffered from any of the infections or are under any medication, it is advised to wait until you completely recover and then donate blood.



Do not donate if you are suffering from tuberculosis. Wait until you completely recover from the same.



Wait till you completely recover and only after the vaccine duration completes 4 weeks. You can then be eligible to donate blood.


Medical Treatments


Those who underwent acupuncture treatment can donate.

Blood Transfusion

You need to wait for a year if you received blood from another person.

Dental Procedure and Oral Surgery

Wait for the recovery of dental infection and the intake of antibiotics. If you had oral surgery, wait for 3 days.


Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Women who are on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms can also donate blood.


Organ / Tissue Transplant

Wait for a year after the transplant to donate blood. Make sure you are healthy enough for the process.

In case you have had an animal organ plant or any animal tissue planted, do not donate. Non- living animal tissues like bone, tendon, or heart valves are acceptable.

It is not important to focus on the fact that you underwent surgery but the cause behind the surgery is important. Discuss with the doctor before donating.


Lifestyle and Life Events


Anyone above 17 years of age can donate blood but in case a 16-year-old wants to donate then it’s only on parental consent. There is no constraint of age on the upper limit.


Donors deferral for Men who have sex with Men (MSM)

Tests show that men who have been in sexual activity with men risk transfusion-transmissible infections.

If a man has not had sex with another man for a year can donate blood accompanied by other eligibility criteria.

When an MSM wishes to donate and says that is not under any sexual activity with another man, a reinstatement takes place and this may take hours.


Intravenous Drug Use

Anyone who used IV drugs that were not prescribed by the physician is not eligible to donate blood. This is related to the concern of Hepatitis or HIV.


Pregnancy, Nursing

If you are pregnant, do not donate blood.  Wait up to 6 weeks after you have given birth.



Wait for a year after you had a tattoo to donate blood.  Only blood can be donated by people who have had a tattoo under certain facilities. This can lead to hepatitis if the conditions have not been good.

A tattoo that has been done using a sterile needle and unused ink is safe. Before donating discuss the same with the doctor.


Piercing (ears, body), Electrolysis

Wait for 12 months after you had any piercing. This is a concern related to hepatitis.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Wait for1 year after the treatment of syphilis or gonorrhea.

Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papillomavirus), or genital herpes are not the cause but if you heal fast and meet all other donating criteria you can donate blood.


 Hosting Blood Donation

Who to contact to host a blood drive?

 Fill this online form and a Red Cross representative will contact you.


What are the requirements for an organization to host a blood drive?

To host a blood donation drive you need at least 100 people to donate but in case the members are less than the Red Cross representative will work along with you and determine how you can work with Red Cross.


Will Red Cross bring a blood drive to our Location?

Generally, blood drives are settled on a bus or any place where all the facilities are easily available. The Red Cross representative will work with you throughout the process.


If you do not have enough appointments to meet the blood goal drive, how to take the process further?

Refer to recruitment strategies and tips.


Can blood donors be appreciated with gifts or incentives?

If you plan to gift donors of pay incentives to volunteers for their support, it has to be the same for all and you should plan it under certain norms under the consultation of the Red Cross Representative.


Diagnostic Manufacturing

Why do I need to get Directions for online use?

This would save time and money and direct you easily to the requirement and also save paper.


Why do reagents vary in color?

The color of the blood cells varies when antibodies are removed from the blood, some hemolysis occurs which colors the serum. The color becomes dark or light depending upon the adsorptions. Also, the antigen-antibody reaction has nothing to do with the color.


The reagents might look cloudy at times. The reason behind the same?

Human plasma contains many proteins and they are visible from one reagent to another.



Types of Blood Donation

Right Type Blood Donation – information about the kind of blood donation in India and the needs of the patient helps to ensure that the donor’s valuable contribution is best utilized, which entails platelet as well as plasma donation. Here are some factors that determine how one can put maximum impact with their donation for different blood related donation types as there can be different derivatives of the donated blood:


Whole blood donation in India

Whole blood is a very flexible type of donation. It can be transfused in its original form and helps many people when red cells, plasma, and platelets separated into their specific categories.

Who it helps: The whole blood given to trauma patients and those who undergo surgery.

Time: approx. 1 Hour

Ideal blood type: All blood type


Power Red donation

During Power Red contribution the donor provides a concentrated volume of red cells and their donated blood is utilized by those who use it as part of their care. This type of donation uses an automated process that separates donor’s red blood cells from different blood components and then returns the plasma and platelets safely with ease.

With only a little extra time during your appointment you can donate more red cells and increase your impact on the needy patients.

Who this helps: Red blood from Power Red Blood contribution is usually utilized by trauma patients, newborns and emergency requirements during birth, those with sickle cell anemia and those with blood deficiency.

Time: About 1.5 hours

Ideal blood type: O positive, O negative, one negative and B negative



Platelet donation

Platelets in your blood are small cells that make blood clot and prevent bleeding. These are utilized by those suffering with life-threatening illnesses and injuries and some cancer patients.

In a platelet donation an apheresis machine gathers donor’s platelets with plasma from the blood and then returns the red cells and most of the plasma back. Many transfusable units can be formed from a donation of platelets, whereas there are about 5 whole blood donations required for making 1 transfusable unit of platelets.

Only selected Red Cross donation centers collect platelets and are not collectable during a regular blood drive.

Who this helps: Platelets are a critical element of organ transplantation and cancer treatment and also required during other surgical procedures.

Time: About 2.5-3 hours

Ideal blood type: A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive, and AB negative.



Plasma donation

While donating AB Elite the donor gives blood for plasma, experts use one part of the blood in emergencies for treating patients. You can give AB plasma to anyone, no matter what their blood group is. Experts collect plasma through an automated process that separates plasma from other blood components and then returns the red blood cells and platelets safely with ease. AB Elite maximizes the contribution and needs only a few minutes for blood donation.

Only selected Red Cross donation centers collect plasma.

Who this helps: AB plasma’s use is to help prevent bleeding in emergencies and trauma situations.

Time: About 1 hour 15 minutes

Model blood type: AB positive, AB negative


While Donating Blood try to keep your Blood Pressure normal:

Blood Pressure Category Systolic
mm Hg (Upper #)
mm Hg (Lower #)
Elevated 120-129 less than 80
Normal less than 120 less than 80
Lower Blood Pressure when < 100 when < 60
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
130-139 80-89
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
140 or Higher 90 or Higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Seek Emergency Care)
Higher than 180 And/or higher than 120






See also:


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NB The write-up is based on the most prevalent media information and is not a medical advice. Consult your Authorized Cardiologist for any Medical Treatment

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