You are using an older version of Internet Explorer that is not supported on this site. Please upgrade for the best experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Persons who are considering blood donation often have questions.

Here are some of the most common:

Should I eat before donating blood?

Yes, we recommend a meal or a snack within four hours before donating.

How is blood used?

A gift of whole blood is usually divided into red cells and plasma, so that one gift can help more than one individual.

Premature infants, surgical patients, accident victims, and persons with leukemia and other diseases often require blood transfusions.

How often can I donate?

You can donate whole blood every 56 days and up to five times each year.

Platelet donors, who take part in a special process called apheresis, can donate as frequently as every 48 hours, or 24 times each year.

Is there an age or weight requirement?

Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds. There is no maximum age limit.

I tried donating blood, but my iron was too low. Does that mean I shouldn’t donate again?

No! Iron levels fluctuate all the time.

To keep your iron levels up, include the below items in your diet:

  • Beef and turkey
  • Beef liver and chicken liver
  • Canned sardines (with oil)
  • Clams and mollusks
  • Mussels and oysters
  • Broccoli
  • Cooked beans
  • Dried apricots
  • Iron-enriched cereals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Squash seeds
  • Tofu
  • Nutrition drink mixes
  • Carnation instant breakfast
  • Ovaltine
  • Prune juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Vegetable juice

Can I donate my own blood for an upcoming procedure?

You cannot donate blood to yourself.

Do I need to know my blood type in order to donate?

No.

Will you tell me my blood type?

Yes!

About four weeks after your first donation to Baystate Health, we will know your blood type and can share it with you in person during your next donation.

I want to donate, but I would like to ask a question about deferrals first. How can I do that?

Contact our Donor Center at 413-794-4600 during the hours we are open, listed below:

Monday: 8 am-12 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 12 pm-8 pm
Friday: 8 am-4 pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 8 am-12 pm

Our Locations