How does blood donation work?

The blood donation process is simple.  The entire process in most cases takes about an hour.  Upon arrival at a Blood Bank of Alaska center or mobile drive you complete four easy steps prior to donation:

Easy Steps to donate blood

  • Present your photo identification to a Blood Bank of Alaska staff member at time of registration
  • Fill out the required Donor History Form at one of our kiosk or use a written form.
  • Go over the form with one of our screening technicians and answer any follow up questions
  • Take a mini-physical to include: temperature, hematocrit test and blood pressure

What is a Hematocrit?

The hematocrit (Ht or HCT) or packed cell volume (PCV) or erythrocyte volume fraction (EVF) is the volume percentage (%) of red blood cells in blood.  It is normally about 45% for men and 40% for women.  It is considered an integral part of a person’s blood count results, along hemoglobin concentration, white blood cell count and platelet count.

  • Once you have passed your screening, you proceed to the donation area to make your donation.
  • The actual whole blood donation takes on average 15 minutes.
  • After your donation it is recommended that you give yourself 10 – 15 minutes to determine if you will experience any side effects.  Some possible side effects are dizziness and feeling faint.  Most donations are given with no side effects at all.
  • Schedule your next appointment.  Whole blood donations can be given every 56 days, platelets every 7 days and plasma every 4 weeks.