Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Blood Donation.

  • Who Gives Blood?

    Volunteers donate virtually all of the country’s supply of blood for transfusions. It is important for all healthy individuals to donate blood, to ensure that the blood supply is there, when a patient needs blood.

  • Do you actually want my blood?

    With less than 10% of the eligible population actually donating blood, we need every able donor to give blood. We perform 13 tests on each unit of blood to ensure that the blood is safe for the recipient.

  • What are the requirements for donating blood?

    In order to give blood, you must be in good general health. You must be 17 years old or older, however, 16 year olds can now donate with parental consent. Donors must also weigh a minimum of 110 lbs. Persons older than 80 no longer need written approval from their physician. You will also be asked a series of questions to determine if you are eligible to donate. As a licensed, non-profit blood center, we are required to ask these questions to ensure that the donated units are safe not only for the donor, but also for the patient who will receive your donation.

  • Why do you have these requirements?

    As a licensed blood center, Blood Assurance is required to follow certain guidelines. Blood Assurance is licensed by the Tennessee Department of Public Health, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • Can I donate if I am anemic?

    Your hemoglobin (iron) level will be checked prior to donating blood. As long as levels are normal on the day of donation, you can give blood. We recommend eating meals that are rich in iron leading up to your donation.

  • Can I donate if I have had cancer?

    While some types of cancer such as leukemia and lymphoma (Hodgkins, non-Hodgkins, etc.) will defer a donor permanently, other cancer survivors can donate blood after being in remission for at least one year.

  • Can I get paid to donate blood?

    To protect the safety of the blood supply, our donors are not paid. Blood Assurance is a non-profit regional blood centers which supplies blood products to area hospitals. We receive reimbursement from the hospitals for the costs incurred in collecting, testing and shipping the blood. For-profit paid plasma collections give people monetary compensation for their blood. The FDA does not allow these paid blood collections to be used for human transfusion by hospitals. These collections are most often used in the manufacturing of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

  • How often can I donate blood?

    You can be a hero and save lives by giving blood up to six times a year. That’s every eight weeks or every 56 days.

  • Can I get any disease from giving blood?

    No. Only sterile, disposable, one-use-only needles and supplies are used. In addition, every pint is tested thoroughly before it is given to a patient.

  • Can I donate if I have a tattoo?

    If you received your tattoo from a licensed tattoo artist in Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia, you no longer have to wait one year before donating blood. Tattoos received in Georgia still require a one year deferral.

  • Can someone with diabetes donate blood?

    Diabetics may donate blood as long as the other medical requirements are met. However, the previous use of bovine-derived insulin (insulin from a cow) will result in deferral from blood donation.

  • Can I donate if I’m taking medications?

    The following medications are the only ones which would prevent you from donating blood: antibiotics*, blood thinners (such as Coumadin, Heparin, Lovenox, Warfarin), Proscar, Avodart, Jalyn, Propecia, Accutane, Soriatane, Tegison, human-derived growth hormones, bovine insulin, Hepatitis B Immune Globulin, and anyone who has received an unlicensed vaccine, usually associated with research. *Donors who are taking antibiotics are eligible to donate 24 hours after their last dose.

  • Can I donate if I have traveled outside the country?

    Simply traveling outside of the United States will not defer you from donating blood. Temporary restrictions are placed on potential donors who have visited countries with a high risk of malaria. These restrictions change almost yearly, so contact Blood Assurance to ask about a specific destination.

  • How long does it take to give blood at Blood Assurance?

    The entire process of donating blood, from the health questionnaire and physical to the actual donation, only takes from 30-45 minutes of your time at Blood Assurance. What’s even better, is that the needle prick only lasts a second and obtaining your blood only takes about eight minutes. In addition, you can feel great just knowing that you helped save up to three lives for every donation.

  • Where and when can I give blood?

    Blood Assurance has 14 different locations, as well as daily mobile drives to make it more convenient for you to give blood. For information on our public drives, please call us at 1-800-962-0628.

  • Do I need an appointment?

    While Blood Assurance welcomes walk-ins, it is helpful if you do make an appointment ahead of time. This will shorten your wait and assist us in planning our schedule. To make an appointment, please call Blood Assurance at 1-800-962-0628 or make an appointment online.

  • Can my business, school or church host a blood drive?

    Absolutely! Your group can have a dramatic impact on saving lives. Blood Assurance has several bloodmobiles available to conduct on-site blood drives for all groups. Please call us at 1-800-962-0628 or contact your donor recruiter to find out how your organization can host a blood drive.

  • Can I donate blood for myself?

    Yes. The process of donating blood for oneself is known as an autologous blood donation. In this procedure, you donate your own blood for an upcoming occasion where you will have need for a blood transfusion, such as surgery. Your blood is collected in the days and weeks prior to surgery, stored and returned to you during or following surgery to replace the blood you have lost. Your physician will make the necessary arrangements and you will then make an appointment with Blood Assurance.

  • What is Project Lifesaver?

    Project Lifesaver is Blood Assurance’s outreach program into area schools. We have implemented this program in over 90 high schools and colleges. This program promotes education regarding the importance of donating blood. In addition, Project Lifesaver enables students and faculty to donate blood and save lives, while inspiring a sense of goodwill and sharing among those involved.

  • What is Apheresis?

    Apheresis is a type of donation in which the donor only gives a certain blood component, such as platelets. Platelets prevent bleeding and are needed by patients who experience trauma, bleeding during surgery, and those who are being treated for cancer.

  • What is the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match Registry?

    The Be The Match Registry (formerly called National Marrow Donor Program) is a service Blood Assurance provides to help those in need. Blood Assurance donors can join the national registry of potential marrow donors through the National Marrow Donor Program and possibly become a match for someone in need of a life-saving transplant. All it takes to sign up is a cheek swab and paperwork. Find out more about enrolling on the NMDP.

  • Can 16 year olds really donate blood?

    Yes, individuals who are 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health can donate blood in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee with parental consent.

  • Is it safe for 16 year olds to donate blood?

    The collection of blood from 16-year-old individuals is recognized as a safe practice. Laws in many states already allow blood collection from these young adults, and many of these states have accepted 16-year-old donors for more than 30 years.

  • Why should I give blood?

    Since the beginning of time, countless life-saving discoveries have been made. However, there is still no substitute for one of the most important elements–blood. Blood components are used every day to save people of every age, including premature babies, oncology patients, trauma victims, surgery patients and many more.

  • How much blood am I donating?

    Think about a 2 liter soft drink. When you donate whole blood, you are donating roughly 1/4 of a 2 liter container, or 500 mL. This donation can save up to three people’s lives and it takes less than one hour.

  • What should I do after I donate blood?

    After you donate blood, please continue to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You will be able to donate again in 56 days or eight weeks. It will take your body about two days to replace the lost plasma and 56 days to replace the red blood cells.

  • My family member is receiving blood transfusions. Can I host a blood drive in his/her honor?

    Yes. As a family member, this is one way you can show support for your loved one. By hosting a blood drive, you are helping to ensure that blood will be available when your loved one needs it.

  • Is it true that Blood Assurance will make a monetary donation to the family if I host a blood drive in honor of someone?

    No. In the past, Blood Assurance made monetary donations to help with medical expenses when a blood drive was held in honor of someone. However, we no longer do this to avoid the appearance of paying for donations. We encourage family members to host blood drives to ensure that blood is available when needed by their loved one. By encouraging blood donations, families can replenish the blood used by their family member.

  • I’m a blood donor but I recently had surgery and received a blood transfusion. Why is there a charge on my medical bill for the blood I received?

    When you donate blood, it is tested, typed and stored at Blood Assurance until it is shipped to an area hospital. The hospital reimburses Blood Assurance for these costs. Any charges associated with your blood transfusion come from your healthcare provider.

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