Frequency Asked Questions
How Does the Blood Donation Process Work?
The actual collection of a donor's blood takes anywhere between 20 - 90 minutes (depending on the type of donation), and the entire process takes 1-2 hours (depending on the type of donation). First the volunteer donor will register at the reception area. Next, they will give their medical history to a trained medical screener, who will check their blood pressure, temperature and iron level, to ensure that they are eligible to donate. Next will be the actual donation, followed by a trip to the canteen, where the donor will be provided with refreshments.
Who Can Donate Blood?
If you are in good health, 17 years of age or older, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, you are most likely eligible to donate blood. There is no upper age limit for blood donors.
Click here for general eligibility requirements; if you have more specific questions regarding your eligibility complete the form below, or contact the Blood Center's donor scheduling department at 610-691-5850.
What Is the Risk of Contracting Any Infectious Disease from Donating Blood?
All medical equipment used in the blood donation process is sterile and used only once. Consequently, there is no risk of acquiring any infectious disease from the blood donation process.
What if My Blood Tests Positive for a Disease?
Miller-Keystone Blood Center performs the following tests on every unit of donated blood (many of which are for infectious diseases):
- ABO/Rh (Blood Type)
- Red Cells Antibody Screening
- HIV O Plus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus Types 1 and 2) - a Chemiluminescent immunoassay (ChLIA) for the qualitative detection of antibodies to HIV-1 (anti-HIV-1) Groups M and O and/or antibodies to HIV-2 (anti-HIV-2)
- HBsAg (Antibody to Hepatitis B Surface Antigen) - a Chemiluminescent immunoassay (ChLIA) for the qualitative detection of hepatitis B surface antigen
- HTLV-I/HTLV-II (Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Types I and II) - a Chemiluminescent immunoassay (ChLIA) for the qualitative detection of antibodies to human T-lymphotropic virus Type I and/or human T-lymphotropic virus Type II (anti-HTLV-I/HTLV-II)
- HBC (Hepatitis B Virus Core Antigen) - a Chemiluminescent immunoassay (ChLIA) for the qualitative detection of total antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc)
- HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) - a Chemiluminescent immunoassay (ChLIA) for the qualitative detection of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV)
- Chagas (Trypanosoma Cruzi) - a Chemiluminescent immunoassay (ChLIA) for the qualitative detection of antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi (T cruzi)
- TP (Treponema Pallidum) (Syphilis) - intended for the qualitative screening of blood donors for the detection of Treponema pallidum IgG and IgM antibodies
- NAT ULTRIO - a qualitative nucleic acid assay system to screen for human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) RNA, hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA
- NAT WNV - a qualitative nucleic acid assay system for the detection of West Nile Virus (WNV) RNA
- CMV - Cytomegalovirus Infection
Should any testing return questionable results, the donor will be confidentially notified by the Blood Center to recommend any follow-up actions.
How Often Can I Donate?
Whole blood donors may donate blood every 56 days. Platelets may be donated on a more regular basis, up to 24 times per year.
How Do I Know if I Am Eligible to Donate? What Might Prevent Me from Donating?
Click here for our General Donor Eligibility Guidelines.
How Often Is Donated Blood Discarded?
Miller-Keystone Blood Center takes our role very seriously, to ensure that donated blood is collected appropriately and managed judiciously. We maintain the proper balance of blood collections with regional usage, and as a result, very little blood collected is discarded. These blood products are lost due to lack of patients with certain blood types in inventory. Blood cannot be used after 42 days in inventory.
Can I Donate My Own Blood for an Upcoming Surgery?
When an individual is informed by their physician a blood transfusion may be needed for an upcoming elective surgery, they can schedule to donate blood for their own use. This is known as an autologous blood donation. This type of self-donation requires a medical request from your doctor, and is coordinated with the Blood Center's Special Collections department.
Can I Donate Blood for a Specific Individual?
If you are a patient, your physician can request directed donations, where you may designate that a specific individual(s) provide the number of blood units requested by your physician. This type of donation is coordinated with the Blood Center's Special Collections department.
If we have not been able to answer your question regarding blood donation, e-mail us and we will answer your question as soon as possible.