Blood Donor Services
Interested in donating blood for a specific patient or yourself?
Patients need nearly 60,000 units of blood at Cedars-Sinai every year.
Whether you are a first-time blood donor or if you donate frequently, you may have questions about the process at Cedars-Sinai. Rest assured, you are in good hands with our Blood Donor Services team.
When you give the gift of blood at a Cedars-Sinai facility or mobile blood drive, you'll be guided through the following steps:
- You'll be asked to complete a donor questionnaire on a tablet.
- You will then be brought to a private screening room to review your answers, and undergo a quick health exam.
- Once you're cleared, the donation process begins. When you finish, you'll be treated to juice and snacks and will need to rest for about 15 minutes, and then you're done.
- Donating blood: The entire process can take up to 1 hour, although the actual time to donate 1 unit of blood is about 10–15 minutes.
- Donating platelets and plasma: Since separating the blood components takes longer than whole blood donation, plan on spending 1–2 hours on the process.
Yes. Sterile, disposable needles and supplies are used only once and are safely discarded after each donation. You cannot catch HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C or any other disease by donating blood.
Phlebotomists, the medical professionals who take your blood, are highly trained and experienced. They are experts at locating the best vein and completing the procedure as painlessly as possible. You will feel a slight pinch when the needle is inserted, but that's it. The rest of the process doesn't hurt at all.
You won't be compensated monetarily, but knowing that your good deed will directly impact and help save the lives of patients can be extremely gratifying. Often, Cedars-Sinai will give away T-shirts or small gifts, like movie passes or restaurant gift cards, as a way of thanking you for your generosity.
When donating, be sure to:
- Bring a photo ID.
- Be in good health.
- Weigh at least 110 lbs.
- Eat a good meal and drink extra water.
- Bring a signed Parental Consent Form for donors who are 16 or 17 years old.
- When you come to Cedars-Sinai to donate blood, take advantage of our complimentary valet parking.
- Keep your iron levels up by eating iron-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, raisins and iron-fortified cereals.
- Try to get a good night's sleep.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol the night before your donation.
- Drink an extra 16 oz. (2 glasses) of water prior to your donation.
- If you're planning to donate platelets, do not take aspirin or aspirin products for 2 days prior to donation. For example, if you took aspirin on Monday, you won't be eligible to donate until Thursday.
- Eat a healthy meal beforehand, and avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. These foods can affect the tests we run on your blood. If there's too much fat in your blood, your donation cannot be tested for infectious diseases, and your blood can't be used to save lives.
Donating blood reduces the amount of iron in your body. For many people, this reduction in iron levels is temporary and has no effect on their health. However, in some donors, particularly young women and those who donate often, blood donation can cause iron deficiency and/or anemia (having too few red blood cells). That's why it's so important to replace the iron lost after donating.
- All blood and blood-product donors should eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in iron.
- Before taking an iron supplement or multivitamin that contains iron, check with your doctor first. The amount of iron you'll need depends on factors such as your age, gender and how often you donate blood. Taking too much iron can be harmful. Iron supplements also can mask other serious health conditions.