When donating blood, the standard donation is approximately 450 mL, slightly less than half a litre or two cups. This represents a small portion of the blood in a person’s body, as the average adult has about 5 litres. The entire process takes just over an hour.
For a quick overview of Canadian Blood Services donation process, watch this video.
What will happen first?
When you arrive at a donation centre, you will be asked to provide some basic information and provide government identification (full name and signature or full name and photograph required).
How long does the donation take?
The actual donation procedure is done by skilled, specially trained clinic staff and takes 10 to 15 minutes. You will rest after donation and enjoy refreshments. Plan to spend about an hour at the donor clinic, plus travel time.
How will I feel after the donation?
Most people feel great! Donors who know what to expect and have eaten regular meals and are well hydrated before donating are usually fine. They can return to normal activities such as work and school. However, donors are recommended to avoid strenuous exercise for six to eight hours following their donation. Also remember to drink extra fluids for the next 24 hours.
Who can give blood – what are the donation criteria, and what determines eligibility?
In all cases, the donor must be in good health, and be feeling well on the day of their donation. Donors are encouraged to drink water and eat something prior to the donation especially salty snacks. Very specific criteria must be met before a person can become a blood donor. There are some medical conditions that can temporarily or even indefinitely defer a blood donation. All donors will be evaluated during a health interview at the donor centre.
Please call Canadian Blood Services at 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to answer any questions you may have, or fill out this donor questionnaire to find out if you qualify to donate: www.blood.ca/eligibility.