Blood Donor's FAQs



Can one get paid to donate Blood?
No. Paid donations are prohibited by law. Some places give away promotional articles as pens, stickers or pins as a thank you gift.
When I donate blood does it hurt?
The answer to this question completely depends on each individual’s vein structure and tolerance, so is very hard to answer. The procedure is as painless as possible. So, if you do feel uncomfortable, please remember that it will all be over within 10 minutes, and those few minutes will very likely save a life.
Can I stop being a donor at anytime or do I have to do it for my entire life?
The donation of blood is voluntary; no one is ever obligated to donate blood, so you can stop donating at any time.
If a person has donated for many years and he/she stops suddenly will the body go through any secondary reactions?
No. Our biological system is on constant formation and renewal of its own blood. All blood that we have in our systems is renewed by our own bodies every 120 days. This renewal happens whether we are donors or not, so donating blood does not affect this process in any way.
Does donating blood weaken a person?
No; and the law assists in assuring this answer in several ways. The law states that a minimum of three months must have passed before any donor can make another donation, prohibits men from making more than 4 donations a year, and women from making more than 3 donations a year. With these limitations, the body doesn’t have any difficulty in replacing all the blood given through donations.
Do donations produce any kind of benefit to the body?
Yes, donating blood is a healthy habit. We all know that giving blood helps others, but doctors now believe that donating blood may help prevent heart attacks. By donating blood, men and women rid their bodies of excessive iron, which is one factor that contributes to heart disease.
If donation doesn’t produce any health benefits, why are some people told by their doctors that they should go and donate?
In some cases there are persons whose body produces an overabundance of red blood cells (RBC) or their biological system accumulates too much iron (Hemochromatosis), which is one of the most common genetic diseases in the world. In these cases blood has to be extracted so the values of Iron or RBC can regulate. Your body has no natural way to get rid of the extra iron, and without treatment, hemochromatosis can cause your organs to fail. It should be noted, this blood isn’t used for transfusion because it’s not considered as a blood donation, but as therapeutic extractions.
Is it possible for me to contract any disease by giving a blood donation?
No. Improvements to the blood collection process have made giving blood today safer than ever. All the material used for donations are pre-sterilized, and “single use” only; a new needle is used for each blood donation, and once it is used, it is destroyed.
If the blood is analyzed anyway, why are there so many questions to answer before donating?
Blood analysis is very secure, however if a person has been recently exposed to any potential of blood disease or infection, there is a possibility this concern may not yet be detectible. Therefore, the pre-donation medical interviews focus on these potential risks, and become one in assisting to ruling out concerns whether your blood may be a carrier of disease or not.
Why is there a tenancy to try to avoid a family directed donation?
We can not be sure that the family donor is actually a voluntary donor or has been morally coerced by the family to give blood. This uncertainty greatly increases our concerns about receiving the truth in regards to recent activities that may not be yet detectible in that person’s blood, for example needle-fed drug use or unprotected sex (some diseases take several months to become detectable, even with analysis). For this reason, special emphasis is put into the medical interview of family members, and yet we would much rather have the blood already in the blood bank and pre-analyzed.
What is the “most wanted” blood type?
All types! Each one of us may at some time require a blood transfusion, and it would offer peace of mind to know one’s own type is already on reserve in case of need. With that said, Blood Banks do hope for additional supply of “O-negative” because it can be used for almost any patient in an emergency situation.
How long does a blood donation take?
It depends on the characteristic of the veins of each person, but a donation takes an average of 10 minutes.
What diseases can be transmitted by blood?
Almost all infectious diseases, but medical history and recognition of donors at the time of extraction are key in avoiding this concern. The diseases of the most concern at this time are: hepatitis, syphilis, AIDS and any potential tropical diseases that may have been picked up during a trip abroad.
Why can men donate more often than women?
With the monthly menstruation women loose iron, so if a woman donates three times per year she will have lost the same amount of iron as a man who had donated 4 times a year.
If an abnormality is detected in the analysis performed after each donation, would you tell the donor?
Yes. After finding any abnormality the receiving clinic/hospital will notify the donor and repeat the analysis to ensure the first result. If the result is the same, they will tell the donor and provide reference to a specialist of that concern. All results are always kept confidential.
I want to be a donor! Where I can go?
Thank you! Our Blood Banks are located at both the Hospital del Nino on Avenida Balboa, and Hospital Santo Tomas (one block directly behind Hospital del Niño):


Hospital del Niño’s Blood Bank is on the hospital’s third floor. Hours of operation: Monday-Thursday: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Friday: 9:00am to 6:00 pm Saturday and Sunday: 7:00 am to 2:00 pm


Hospital Santo Tomas’s Blood Unit is on the main floor as soon as you enter. Monday-Friday: 7:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturday: 8:00am to 3:00 pm.


All donors are accepted on a drop-in basis only; appointments are not even taken at either hospital. Priority is given to those willing and able to donate to the general blood bank (providing Blood For Everyone).


Autologous Donations


What is autologous donation?
Autologous blood donation is the process of donating your own blood, then having it safely stored, and given back to you during or after an anticipated surgery or procedure.
How do I know if I’m able to donate for myself?
Your physician and/or our Medical Director will determine your eligibility. If you are not eligible to donate blood for others, you may be eligible to donate for yourself. There are no age limitations with autologous blood donations. The same infectious disease testing is done on autologous blood donations as volunteer, blood donations. Being positive for some infectious disease markers may make you ineligible for an autologous donation.
How much blood can I donate, and how often?
This depends on your physician’s request and when your surgery is scheduled. Red blood cells can be refrigerated for up to 42 days. Autologous donations may be scheduled weekly, and optimally should be completed seven days prior to your surgery.



Do not forget that we can send medical technologists out to visit schools or workplaces to accept larger quantities of blood donations. We ask for a minimum of 30 to warrant the costs and time associated with this effort.


Please spread the word, and encourage others to donate... Remember that every minute there are people in need of blood, and you can be that hero to help save a life, and/or give someone a new opportunity to a better one.