Giving blood, a gesture that saves lives
You can give blood if
- You are over 18 and under 70 years old.
- You are in good health.
- You weigh 50 kg or more.
- If you're a woman, you are not pregnant.
- You have an ID card, passport, residency permit or driving licence.
If you are already registered with the Banc de Sang i Teixits (Blood and Tissue Bank), a donor's card or document with your full name is enough.
Men can give blood four times a year and women three. You should always wait at least two months between each donation.
Before giving blood
- Do not come with an empty stomach.
- Wait at least two hours after a large meal.
- Avoid very fatty foods, such as cheese and fried food.
- We recommend you drink between a quarter and a half litre of water or juice.
- You will fill out a questionnaire on your health and life habits. We need your consent to take blood and process your details, which are always treated confidentially and in compliance with regulations.
- We will give you a medical interview and measure your blood pressure and haemoglobin levels. You will be able to give blood depending on the results. We want to make sure that the donation is safe for you and the person who receives your blood.
- The extraction lasts 10 to 15 minutes. This is the time required to donate 450 ml of blood and save up to three lives.
- You will have to rest a few minutes and then have some light refreshment. It is important to drink liquids, as more than half of blood is water.
After giving blood
- Drink lots of fluids and add salty foods to your diet for the next 24-48 hours.
- Do not do anything strenuous, especially with the arm used to take blood, in the following 24 hours.
- Do not drink anything alcoholic or smoke during the following two hours.
- Do not remove the plaster for at least two hours after the donation. If you bleed when taking it off, put pressure on your arm for three to five minutes.
- Avoid very hot places; it is better to be in cool, ventilated areas.
- Return to your normal activity when you can. It is better to walk than relax sitting down.
What the blood is used for
Various blood and blood-derived components are obtained from each donation and used to treat patients.
Each one has a specific shelf-life and a storage temperature and is used for different therapies.
Red blood cells
Shelf-life: 42 days
Storage: 2-6 °C
Shelf-life: 5 days
Storage: 20-24 °C
- For transfusion:
Shelf-life: 3 years
Storage: -30 °C
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
- For manufacturing blood-derived products:
Shelf-life: 2 years
Storage: 2-8 °C
Factor VIII/IX: haemophilia (A and B)
Albumin: restoring blood volume
Immunoglobulins: immune deficiencies and autoimmune diseases
When a donation cannot be given to a patient, it is used for authorised biomedical research to improve the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and/or treatment of diseases. It can also be used to improve biomedical control systems. Exceptionally, it is used for teaching activities and producing diagnostic elements.
Apheresis is a form of donation that permits the blood components to be separated as they are extracted.
A machine with a centrifuge system separates the donor's plasma or platelets and returns the other components, basically the red blood cells to the donor. The process uses only one venipuncture.
This type of donation lasts 40 minutes and enables more of the required blood component to be obtained than with conventional blood donations.
As the donor keeps their red blood cells, recovery is almost immediate, so this type of donation can be repeated after two weeks, but with a maximum of 24 times a year.