First Time Donors

Are You a First Time Donor?

Thank you for your interest in donating life-saving blood!  Giving blood is safe, quick and easy.  The entire process takes about an hour and a single blood donation can help save up to three lives!

Although you probably know there are many good reasons for giving blood, if you have not donated before, you may still be a little nervous.  That’s ok and totally normal!  We want you to know what to expect when you give for the first time, to make you comfortable and to alleviate any anxiety you may feel about the process. We know that if your first donation is a success you will be more likely to make donating blood a habit, helping many patient lives over your lifetime!  Read these steps to find out exactly what to expect during your donation.  After you are finished, click here to learn how to prepare for your donation to make it a success!


Whole Blood Donation Process

Registration (about 5-10 minutes)

  • Sign in and present a valid photo ID
  • Read the FDA Required Reading information sheet about donating blood.

Health History/Screening (about 5-10 minutes)

  • Answer questions about your past and present health and lifestyle.  Some questions will be about sexual history, illegal drug use, your travel history and some infectious diseases.  It is extremely important that you answer all questions truthfully.  All information you give us is strictly confidential.  If you feel uncomfortable about disclosing such information, you should not donate. If you do not want to answer a question during the interview, you can simply walk away with no questions asked.

Physical Exam (About 10 minutes)

  • Undergo a mini physical which includes temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Your finger will be pricked to obtain a blood drop to determine hemoglobin level.  Hemoglobin is an iron-containing, oxygen-carrying protein found in your blood.
  • If you are allergic to iodine, tape or natural rubber latex, please let your Donor Specialist know so that the donation staff can substitute other materials.


  • Be sure to be well hydrated before your donation.

Donation (About 15-20 minutes)

  • Sit in a comfortable donor chair and relax.
  • Your Donor Specialist will clean the area of the arm that you will be using to donate.  All of the supplies, including the needle, are sterile and are used only once and then discarded.
  • Once the needle is in place, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to draw a unit of blood.  Squeeze a stress ball to keep the blood flowing.
  • Once your donation is complete, the needle will be removed and a bandage will be applied
  • Sit up and dangle your legs over the edge of the donor chair for a couple of minutes before standing.  

Refreshments (About 10 minutes)

  • We ask that you sit back and relax in our refreshment area for at least 10 minutes to enjoy a snack and drink.  
  • Once you have had your snack, you may leave the donation area and continue with your normal daily activities.
  • We suggest that you avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for a few hours.

If you have any other questions, before or after donating, please feel free to call our Quality Assurance Team at 571-434-3628.

Ready to get started?