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Blood Banking - Ask the Experts

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Lela is a certified medical laboratory scientist (ASCP) with 38 years of experience in the medical industry and blood banking.

Blood Transfusion Headquarters

Who Can Donate? Who Cannot Donate Blood?

According to Austin's We Are Blood, "Eligible donors are in good health, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 115 pounds (for whole blood donations) or 110 pounds (for platelet donations)."

However, the exclusion list for donors is much more complicated. Each facility that accepts blood or platelet donations has their own exclusion list that is governed by the Medical Director of the donor acceptance committee. If you feel you have been excluded unfairly, you may petition the Medical Director to grant an exception in your case.

I can't stress this enough, each blood collection center has its own set of rules for exclusion: Simply call for an appointment, at your nearest blood donor center (hint: use Google Maps). Ask them why you might be excluded from donating blood or platelets.

If you are donating plasma for money, ask the plasma collection center about their requirements and pay scale. You can find their number from Google Maps app by searching for "plasma donation centers + your zip code".


  • Can I donate for a family member? The answer is yes, via a directed donor program, or a donated for credit program.
  • Can I donate blood for myself? Yes, via an autologous donation program. This is usually ordered by your doctor or surgeon to be done a couple of weeks before your surgery.
  • Can I donate blood if I have a tattoo? Yes or No, depending on when and where you got the tattoo. Call and ask.
  • Can I donate if I test positive for Covid, or Flu, pr a cold? Maybe. You should never donate blood or plasma if you do not feel well. But, you can call and ask.
  • Can I donate if I have HIV? Unfortunately, no.
  • Can I donate if I have (insert name of condition or history here)? It always depends on the blood and plasma collection centers. If you think something may exclude you, call the nearest center and ask.

What Do Blood Banks And Laboratories Do With All That Blood?

Today's modern Blood Banks and Storage facilities are the best that they can be. Blood Bank specialists are well-trained scientists that analyze blood incompatibilities and find the most compatible blood for transfusions. Their designation is Specialist in Blood Bank, Medical Laboratory Scientists, and have a 4 or 5 year degree in Medical Laboratory Science.

These specialists are generally known by the abbreviations of SBB, or MLS. These specialists perform accurate blood typing and compatibility. They are the ones most closely associated with blood, plasma, platelet, and cryopricipitate transfusions.

After all the blood and plasma donations are utilized to their maximum potential, the blood will be destroyed by incineration The reasons include: expiration, contamination, positive tests for exclusions, and any other reason the collection center has from the FDA.

As for regular tubes of blood drawn from you, the patient, the blood tubes will be incinerated after one week of storage in a refrigerator. This is a general rule and is adjusted according to the center's rules.

Frozen blood is kept for two years or more. Frozen plasma has a designated expiration date and will be destroyed, if not used, after that date.

Cord blood and stem cells are frozen for as long as a current contract is valid.

How Can You Type Your Blood at Home?

Firstly, let me state there is absolutely no need for anyone to know or carry a card stating their blood type! Maybe the army is still doing it for active duty personnel in a war zone, but you are not in a war zone! There are several misconceptions about blood types.

Blood types do not:

  • influence who you can marry
  • who you can have a baby with
  • determine what you can or can't eat to lose weight
  • protect you from certain diseases and conditions
  • influence your personality
  • mark you as "special, rare, alien, or golden"

No one needs to know their blood type because the only people who need to know this will type, and retype, and verify all transfusions in at least three manners. They absolutely will not accept your decision about your blood type. Not even if you have a card from a doctor.

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No, your blood type will never change without a bone marrow transfusion, but mistakes are frequently made by untrained people. We will not even accept another specialist interpretation of your blood type! The only blood type that we go by are the ones we do immediately before your transfusion occurs. We don't even accept the first type! All blood types are double and even triple checked before each transfusion.

If you are convinced that you really have to know your blood type, you may follow my instructions for typing your own blood at Why Are Rare Blood Types More Common Than You Think.

If you use a kit provided from a store, you must follow the kit instructions! But even then, we won't believe your interpretation.

The best way to get your blood type is by donating blood at a local blood collection facility. They will type your blood after it is drawn and give you the blood type for free!

Why Do I Need a Blood Transfusion?

The majority of blood transfusions are done to treat anemia. Anemia and transfusion services, are diagnosed by a licensed physician, or Hematologist specialist.

If you want to know what kind of anemia you may have, please visit: my article Anemia Types, Symptoms and Treatment.

Please consult a specialist before diagnosing yourself!

What Are Other Reasons For Blood, Plasma, And Platelet Transfusions?

You might need a transfusion if:

  • you have a massive blood loss due to trauma
  • you are being treated for an anemic hemolytic condition (a condition that breaks down your red blood cells)
  • you are an Rh-positive infant born to an Rh-negative mother, and she did not receive RhoGam® injections sufficient to suppress her Anti-D antibodies
  • if you are being treated for cancer, you may need blood, plasma, or platelet transfusions

Why Should I Donate Blood, Plasma, or Platelets?

Donating blood, plasma or platelets has many altruistic reasons for people to donate, and some profitable reasons too!

Most people donate to help save the lives of people they know or love. They donate to help them save money on hospital bills for transfusions.

People working in health care and emergency services know that their donations can save up to 5 lives! They do it as part of their hero jobs.

A lot of college students donate plasma for money to help offset their tuition and housing costs.

Sports enthusiasts know that they gain strength and oxygen benefits from donating blood because their bone marrow always replaces the donation with fresh red cells. Fresh red cells carry more oxygen and strength building nutrients every time they donate!

You can donate for other rewards and recognition. Don't forget about the cookies, ice cream, and movie tickets, coffee mugs, and other items that blood banks give you as a thank-you!


  1. We Are Blood - in Austin, Texas
  2. SBB and MLS certifications
  3. Donation Inclusions and exclusions:
  4. Why Are Rare Blood Types More Common Than You Think - Hub Pages
  5. RhoGam® injections for preventing Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Lela

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