Blood Donor Center
About the Blood Donor Program
The immense support we receive from donors like you helps us meet 90 percent of our patients' needs for blood transfusions each year at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We need continued blood donations to help us sustain the needs of our patients.
- Blood Donor Qualifications
- Before You Donate
- During Your Donation
- After You Donate
- Directions to the Blood Donor Center
- 17 years of age or older
- 110 pounds or heavier
- Able to provide a picture ID
- Able to meet the criteria for recent travelers
What if I can't donate?
Don't let the blood donation rules discourage you from supporting care for our patients. You can still help our patients in numerous ways:
Organize a Blood Drive
By encouraging others to donate, and by organizing a blood drive, you can contribute far more than a pint of blood every eight weeks.
- Distribute Information
You can also distribute information about the importance of blood donations for sick and injured children at school, work, and to your church or synagogue. Email us or call 323-361-2441 to receive materials and ideas about how to encourage your friends and relatives to donate blood for our patients.
You may choose to donate your time by volunteering at our hospital.
- Make a Monetary Gift
A monetary gift or pledge can make a significant difference in our ability to provide the highest quality care for children who are seriously ill or injured.
Instructions for Blood Donors
- The day before donation drink extra fluids
- Eat a healthy meal at least four hours before donating
- Do not fast
- Bring I.D. with you (must have valid picture I.D.)
Instructions for Platelet Donors
Individuals should not take any ibuprofen, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication 48 hours prior to donating. Platelet donors may need to be screened in advance.
Do you need translation services?
To protect your confidentiality, family and/or friends cannot serve as interpreters during the screening process. Please let us know in advance if you require translating services, we will be more than happy to make arrangements for you (call or email).
The entire process of a blood donation takes about 45 minutes while we:
- Verify Your Eligibility
A healthcare professional will ask you about your medical history and your general health on the day of donation.
Check Your Vital Signs
One of our staff members will check your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and take a blood sample for anemia.
- Begin Your Donation Process
A whole blood donation takes only 15 minutes. It is important for you to relax. Your body starts replenishing blood almost immediately. Blood can be donated every 8 weeks.
- Ready for Departure
We will provide you with cookies, juice, and validation for your parking. If it's your second time donating blood at our Blood Donor Center, we'll make you a Donor Identification Card to make things easier for you next time you come.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids
Leave your bandage on for about two hours
Do not smoke for at least one hour
Do not skip a meal
Do not perform any strenuous activities
Make an appointment for your next donation
Once you park and enter our hospital:
- Stop at the Information Desk
- The Guest Services staff at the Information Desk will give you a Visitor’s Badge. You must have a Visitor’s Badge to enter the hospital.
- From the Information Desk, make an immediate right into the main hospital lobby.
- Walk 10-15 steps and take your first left down a wide hallway (if you pass Admitting on your left, you have gone too far).
- Make an immediate left turn across from the restrooms (if you go through the sliding glass doors, you have gone too far).
- Enter the Blood Donor Center
Note: Blood Draw #1 is only for patients who are being treated for blood diseases, for transplant-related services, and for Bone Marrow Transplant care.
Special Donation Programs
- Donor Buddy Program
- Donate for a specific child
- Donate platelets
- Donate for a future transfusion
- CMV-Negative Program
Patients suffering from leukemia, aplastic anemia or a bone marrow disease require special blood products, such as platelets or white blood cells. You can help by donating platelets.
During a platelet donation, your blood is separated through a process called apheresis which extracts only the needed component. Because of the special process involved, the blood donation procedure takes approximately two hours.
Blood Donation FAQ
What is Our Greatest Need?
There is always a child who needs your blood type at our hospital. Type O individuals are "universal donors." As a result, there is a great need for O donors. O-Negative blood is used in emergency situations, and is especially useful for transfusions for infants. Our hospital has one of the largest and most successful Neonatal Intensive and Critical Care Units, making our hospital's needs great. Platelets, the blood component necessary for clotting, are the most used component at our hospital for children undergoing bone marrow transplant therapy or chemotherapy.
How Often Can I Help?
You can donate blood every two months, not to exceed six times per year. You can donate platelets every two weeks, not to exceed 24 times per year.
How Much of the Blood Used by Our Patients is Collected From the Blood Donor Center?
Our patients need approximately 2,000 units of blood and blood components each month as part of the life-saving care provided at our hospital. To provide these units to our patients, the hospital needs to collect blood from approximately 800 blood donors per month. Nearly 90 percent of the blood transfused at Children's Hospital Los Angeles comes from our donor center. Rarely is enough blood donated to cover patient use.
How Soon Can I Donate Again?
You can donate blood every two months, not to exceed six times per year. You can donate platelets every two months, not to exceed 24 times per year.