An Overview of Blood Donation

Posted on 01st Mar 2012 | 1009 views

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"Blood is that fragile scarlet tree we carry within us"-Osbert Sitwell
I. Blood Donation and types of Blood Donation:

When a person is voluntarily ready to donate blood, then he can be considered for blood donation. In developing countries most of the people donate blood for community purposes. In developing counties, donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion. Before donating blood, the donor needs to take a relative physical examination and answer the questions related to his/her medical history to make sure that the donation is not hazardous to his/her health. The amount of blood drawn and methods vary from person to person. The instruments used for blood donation have short shelf life and should be maintained on a constant supply. Blood donation is of four types:

1. Homologous donation: Blood donation for the purpose of blood bank storage.

2. Directed donation: Donating the blood to the family members or specific individuals on need.

3. Replacement donor donation: Combination of Homologous and directed donation.

4. Autologous donation: Transfusing the donated blood to the same person at a later date.

II. Uses of donated blood

As we know, there is a tremendous demand for blood in all major hospitals. Many patients die due to the unavailability of blood and they are not able to cope up with the blood loss. Donated blood is used for many purpose like:

  • Restore the loss of blood at the time of accidents.
  • Restore the loss of blood at the time of surgeries.
  • Help hemophilia patients survive.
  • Help burnt patients reveive plasma which is critical for their survival.
  • To increase the hemoglobin levels in cancer and anemia patients.
III. Important factors to consider while donating blood:

A person who is in healthy condition can be considered for blood donation. A donor should be:

  • A person who is between 18-60 years of age
  • A person whose hemoglobin count is above 12.5 g/dl
  • A person whose weight is not less than 45 kgs
  • A person whose body temperature is normal at the time of donation
  • A person who has normal blood pressure at the time of donation
  • A person who is free from all diseases
  • A person who has not taken any medicine in the last 48 hours
  • A person who has not contacted jaundice in the previous three years
IV. Factors which affect the blood donation:

The below categories of people are not eligible to donate blood:

  • Pregnant women or those who have recently had an abortion
  • People who prefer to take steroids and hormonal supplements
  • People who have multiple sexual partners
  • People who are addicted to drugs
  • People who had diseases like jaundice, rubella, typhoid or malaria
  • People who have undergone any surgery in the last six months
  • People who have taken alcohol prior to donation
  • Women should avoid donation during their menstruating period
  • People who are suffering from heart, kidney and liver problems are not encouraged to donate blood

People who are suffering from below diseases should not donate blood:

  • Malaria (within 1 year)
  • Hepatitis B, C
  • Any other type of Jaundice (within 16 years)
  • AIDS
  • Tuberculosis (within 2 years)
  • Diabetes (if they are under medication currently)
  • Fits/ Convulsions (if they are under medication currently)
  • Cancer
  • Leprosy or any other infectious diseases
  • Any allergies (Only if you are suffering from severe symptoms)
  • Hemophilia/ Bleeding problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Chicken Pox (within 1 year)
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Hemoglobin deficiency / Anemia (recently)
  • Drastic weight loss (recently)
  • Small Pox Vaccination (within the last 3weeks)
  • Blood Donation (within the last 3 months)
  • Blood Transfusion (within the last 6 months)
  • Major Surgery (within the last 3 months)
  • Pregnancy (within the last 6 months)
  • Organ Transplant (within one year)
V. The process of blood donation:


Only 350 ml of blood is taken at the time of donation. A healthy person has 5-6 liters of blood in the body. The donated blood loss is restored in 24-48 hours by the body. The lost red cell count is restored in 56 days. There will be a medical checkup before the blood donation and a person is advised to take rest for 5 to 10 minutes and given some refreshment after donation. The complete process of blood donation takes minimum 30 minutes. A person is advised to take minimum 3 months gap between one donation to another to regain the normal hemoglobin count.

A sample of blood is screened for the following diseases/infections before grouping:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • Syphilis
  • Malaria

The donated blood is grouped and stored either as whole blood or as components like packed red blood cells, plasma or platelets. These packets are sent on demand to hospitals. Blood is composed of cells suspended in a liquid.


Suspended in the plasma are three types of cells:

1. Red cells: Carry oxygen

2. White cells: Fight against infection

3. Platelets: Stop wounds bleeding

Based on the presence of protein coat on the surface of the blood it is grouped into 5 major types like:

1. ABO grouping (Common grouping)

2. A (A protein is present)

3. B (B protein is present)

4. AB (AB protein is present)

5. O (no protein is present) Based on the Rh factor also blood grouping is done. If Rh is present, the particular blood type is called positive otherwise it is called negative.

We have the following broad categories:

  • A1 Negative
  • A1 Positive
  • A1B Negative
  • A1B Positive
  • A2 Negative
  • A2 Positive
  • A2B Negative
  • A2B Positive
  • B Negative
  • B Positive
  • O Negative
  • O Positive
VI. Some important tips while donating blood:


  • Please have a good meal at least 3 hours before donating blood
  • Please accept the snacks offered after the donation. It is recommended to have a good meal later
  • Please avoid smoking on the day before donating or 3 hours after donation
  • One is not eligible to donate blood if he/she has consumed alcohol 48 hours before donation
VII. Corporate Initiatives in Blood Donation:

Corporate social responsibility-Infosys:


Infosys has pledged to make a difference to society by actively participating in community development. More than 80 Infoscions donated blood in a special camp conducted in collaboration with the Mysore Rotary and Chandrakala Hospital.

VIII. Myths and Facts about Blood Donation:

Myth 1: Blood donation leads to weakness.

Fact1: Blood donation never leads to weakness. It gives additional energy.

Myth2: Government hospitals prohibit blood from private banks.

Fact 2: According to the NOC issued by the Government of India, government hospitals can take blood from any licensed Blood Bank.

Myth3: Blood Bank is a commercial and profit making activity.

Fact3: Blood Bank is completely a no profit, no loss service.

Myth 4: Women and girls cannot donate blood.

Fact 4: Any healthy person, weighing more than 45 kgs and in the age group of 18 to 60 can donate blood irrespective of their gender.


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