Blood Donation: Frequently Asked Questions
BBMS, HP Q: What is blood? How much blood does a person have?

A: Blood is the red coloured fluid flowing continuously in our body's circulatory system. About 1/12th of the body weight of a healthy individual is blood. On an average there are about 5 - 6 litres of blood present.

BBMS, HP Q: How much blood do you take?

A: In India 350 ml blood is collected from a blood donor weighing not less than 45 kilograms. Donors weighing more than 55 kilogramsmay donate upto 450 ml of blood.

BBMS, HP Q: How can one blood donation save four lives ?

A:The blood you donate is split into four components Red Blood Cells, Platelets, Plasma and Cryoprecipitate

BBMS, HP Q: Why is my finger pricked before donation?

A: To estimate “haemoglobin” content in blood. This is the component of the red cells which transport oxygen in the human body to all the organs and tissues. If the level is low, it is not wise to give blood.

BBMS, HP Q: What physical tests are performed before blood donation?

A: 1. Weighing (not less than 45 kg)
2. Hb estimation (12.5gm/100ml by copper sulphate method)
3. Measurement of blood pressure (systolic 160/100 mmHg; diastolic 90/60 mmHg)
4. Checking heart beats (60 - 100 times per minute), condition of liver, lung and spleen
5. Body temperature (37oC)

BBMS, HP Q: Why blood is not collected from a person having a haemoglobin content of less than 12.5 gm/l00ml?

A: Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs ) to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen to burn nutrients to provide energy to the organism, and collects the resultant carbon dioxide to bring it back to the respiratory organs to be dispensed from the organism. Hence blood with less Hb content than the prescribed (12.5gm/100ml) does not help the patient much in carrying oxygen to cells.

BBMS, HP Q: Is blood donation very painful?

A: No. Not more than a prick of an injection needle.

BBMS, HP Q: Does it take long time to donate blood?

A: It should take up not more than 20 minutes of time including time for rest and taking refreshment.

BBMS, HP Q: Will I feel all right after donation?

A: Yes, you can go back to your normal work after 30 minutes.

BBMS, HP Q: How often may I donate blood?

A: You may donate once in 90 days (upto 4 times per year).

BBMS, HP Q: Why to use different types of bags for blood collection ?

A: This depends upon what components we are going to prepare out of your donated blood. This in turn, depends upon our stock position of various components and also on requirements by patients. A "single bag" is used when the donated blood is going to be used as "whole blood". We use a "double bag" to prepare one unit of "Packed Cells" and one unit of "Fresh-Frozen Plasma" from a single donation. "Triple bags" are used to make an additional unit of "Platelet Concentrate from the same donation. "Penta bags" are used to make small aliquots for use in babies.

BBMS, HP Q: Why is only a component of the blood used and not the whole blood ?

A: Over the last decade, blood transfusion has been made safer by transfusing only the needed component of the blood to the patients. For example, RBCs for those who are anaemic and those undergoing surgery, Platelets for children and adults whose platelet count is low due to disease or medication they received and Plasma for those with burn injuries or bleeding problems. Apart from providing the right component, this approach helps in optimal use of available blood.

BBMS, HP Q: How long can blood be preserved in a blood bank?

A: Blood is normally preserved in blood bank for 35 days using CPDA or CPDA1 solution as anticoagulant and shelf life 42 days in Sagam solution at 4oC.

BBMS, HP Q: Is there a National Blood Policy?

A: Yes, a National Blood Policy has been formulated and is now being implemented with the mission to ensure easily accessible and adequate supply of safe and quality blood collected from voluntary non- remunerated regular blood donors.

BBMS, HP Q: What are the infections for which blood is tested?

A: The Drugs & Cosmetics Act provides mandatory testing of blood for five major infections viz. HIV, Hepatitis C, Syphilis & Malaria. Every unit of blood is tested for all these Infections.

BBMS, HP Q: What does the term ‘Service Charge’ means in blood banks?

A: No, charges for blood as such can be levied by any blood bank. However, the blood that is collected form a donor at no cost needs to be processed to make it free of infection, to ensure that it has certain minimum quality standards. It also needs to be stored and tested with recipient’s blood before transfusion. Besides all these, establishment costs for the blood bank like infrastructure maintenance, salaries etc. add to the overall costs of providing safe unit if blood to patient. Blood banks attempt to recover thee costs as service charge from the consumer.

BBMS, HP Q: Is there some uniform service charge fixed for a blood unit?

A: There are some guidelines developed by the National Blood Transfusion Council and circulated by NACO, on the amount of service charge that can be charged by blood banks functioning in any sector in the country. These guidelines specify that no blood bank will charge more than Rs. 500/- for one unit of whole blood. However, since these are mere guidelines and have no legal.

BBMS, HP Q: Is the blood issued by blood banks safe?

A: Yes , As per the National Blood Safety Programme of NACO, it is mandatory on the blood banks to test every unit of blood properly for grouping, cross matching and testing for HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B & C and Malaria before it is issued for transfusion. Facilities have been provided by NACO to all the government and charitable blood banks like Red Cross to carryout these tests.

BBMS, HP Q: Can one acquire HIV infection if one donates blood?

A: No, this is not possible as all materials used for collection of blood are sterile and disposable. Donation blood is a noble gesture. People who are healthy should come for come forward for donating blood voluntarily.

BBMS, HP Q: Who can donate blood?

A: Only a healthy person between the age group of 18-65 years, weighing 45 kg or more with haemoglobin content of 12.5 gm per 100cc or more can donate blood.

BBMS, HP Q: Is there any inspection of blood banks?

A: Yes, the blood banks can only function if they are licensed by the Drug Inspectors of the Food and Drug Administration of the respective states. The Drug & Cosmetics Act provides a legal framework under which the blood banks are inspected and issued a proper license, which is renewed every alternate year. Every blood bank has to prominently display its license for anyone to check.

So this year Dear friends ' Donate Blood ' and give somebody a GIFT OF LIFE .