Inside Indiana Blood Center’s Donation Process – Step Three (Option 1)


Step Three: Donating Blood

You passed! Your mini-physical confirms you are eligible to donate.

As we continue with the Inside Indiana Blood Center’s Donation Process mini-series, we would like to share with you step three of the donation process—donating whole blood.

At Indiana Blood Center, you may choose to donate whole blood, platelets, plasma or double red cells. Whole blood is the most common donation type, during which the equivalent of one pint of blood is collected. Red blood cells from your whole blood donation have a shelf life of 42 days and donors can make a whole blood donation every 56 days.

The process of drawing whole blood (called phlebotomy) is quick and easy, and complete in about 15 minutes. To start, you will relax in a comfortable, reclining chair while a blood technician prepares to draw your blood. The phlebotomy process follows.

Prior to collecting the blood, it is important to determine which arm is best for drawing blood. If you think one side will prove to be more effective feel free to share this knowledge with your blood technician. Once the best suited side is identified, the blood technician will clean the site for 30 seconds with an antiseptic. Then, he/she will apply a blood pressure cuff, or tourniquet, to cause your vein to project in preparation for drawing blood. (You may also be asked to squeeze your hand to increase pressure in the vein to optimize the process). A single-use needle attached to sterile tubing and a collection bag will be used for phlebotomy.

The first part of your blood donation will flow through the tubing into a small bag called a diversion pouch. Any bacteria still present after application of antiseptic will flow with the blood to the diversion pouch. The diversion pouch also collects enough blood to provide samples for required testing for infectious diseases and to confirm blood type. The diversion pouch collects about 25mL of blood, then the remainder of your blood donation will continue along the tubing to the blood collection bag. The bag has a maximum volume of 500 mL, and is placed upon an automated scale to ensure the correct amount of blood is withdrawn.

Indiana Blood Center Blood Technician providing blood donor with post donation instructions
Indiana Blood Center Blood Technician providing blood donor with post donation instructions

After filling the blood bag, you have fulfilled your donation requirement. At this time, the blood technician will disconnect the blood bag. Having completed this portion of the process, the blood technician will then clean your arm and provide you with post donation instructions. These instructions inform you of the dos and don’ts following blood donation.

That was easy. Can you think of a simpler way to make a life-saving difference?

Stay connected next week to gain more information on Step Three: Donation (Platelets and Plasma). In the meantime, visit to schedule an appointment to Raise Your Sleeve.

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