Blood Donor Center

Make an Appointment

Monday-Friday: 6:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 6:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Phone: 323-361-2441
Email: blooddonorcenter@chla.usc.edu

Keeping Blood Donors Safe

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is experiencing a shortage of blood donors. We want you to know that the children in our care still need your generous blood and platelet donations, and we’re keeping donors safe in the process. We are collecting blood at our hospital, and at mobile blood drives as well.

  • What is Children’s Hospital Los Angeles doing to keep blood donors safe?
  • Is there any reason I shouldn’t come in to donate?
  • How is Children’s Hospital Los Angeles protecting kids from getting COVID-19 through a blood transfusion?
  • I donated blood but now I think I have COVID-19. What do I do?
  • I recently recovered from COVID-19. Can I donate plasma?
  • We have reduced the number of donors we see by 50% to ensure proper physical distancing.
  • All employees wear gloves, masks and other essential personal protective equipment.
  • All staff and visitors over the age of 2 at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are required to wear a mask at all times.
  • All surfaces touched by donors and staff, including donor beds, computer equipment and review materials, are cleaned after every use.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at each workstation.
  • Donor beds and waiting room chairs have been arranged for proper physical distancing.
  • Appointment times have been spaced to limit the number of donors in the Blood Donor Center at all times.
  • All visitors are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 at the hospital’s entrance and at blood donor registration areas.
  • Additional screening questions have been added during the donor health history interview.

Do not donate blood if:

  • You have been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the past 28 days
  • You have cared for, lived with, or otherwise had close contact with a person or people diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 in the past 28 days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is primarily transmitted person to person through respiratory droplets. No cases of coronavirus have been linked to blood transfusion or exposure, and no cases of transmission by blood transfusion were ever reported for SARS and MERS-CoV, two other coronaviruses that emerged during the past two decades. Routine blood donor screening measures that are already in place prevent individuals with symptoms or respiratory infections from donating blood.

If you are diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19 and have donated blood in the 28 days prior to disease onset/symptoms, please call the Blood Donor Center to let us know.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is now accepting plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19, called convalescent plasma, which may be used to help others fighting the illness. You can donate convalescent plasma if you:

  • Have a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result
  • Have been symptom-free and completely recovered for at least 28 days prior to donation
  • Meet specific donor eligibility requirements and laboratory test criteria

If you meet these criteria, call the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Blood Donor Center at 323-361-2441 to make an appointment. A representative will follow up to confirm your eligibility.


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

Below are the following blood donation qualifications based on FDA and AABB guidelines and regulations:

Read the Blood Donation Qualification fact sheet for more.

Changes in Blood Donor Eligibility Rules are NOW in Effect

Effective August 3, 2020, CHLA can accept some individuals as blood donors who were previously deferred by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. All revisions to blood collection guidelines were made after careful study by the FDA to ensure the safety of the blood supply.

The FDA announced the revised guidelines in April 2020, but CHLA required time to modify computer systems, write procedures, and train staff in order to implement these changes safely. Thank you for your patience.

Changes include:

No deferral (eligible to donate) for individuals with a prior risk of vCJD (“mad cow” disease):

  • Individuals who were stationed with the military or lived on a military base in Europe from 1980 to 1996
  • Individuals who lived in Europe for 5 years or more from 1980 to the present
    Two exceptions still remain:
    • Those who have spent a total of 5 years or more in France and Ireland cumulatively in the period from 1980-2001
    • Those who have spent a total of 3 months or more in the United Kingdom in the period from 1980-1996
  • Individuals who used bovine insulin for diabetes

Deferral period reduced to 3 months (previously 1 year) for individuals at risk of HIV or malaria:

  • Following travel to a malaria endemic area (as long as you were not a resident of a malarial endemic country)
  • Following any possible blood exposure including, but not limited to, tattoo or piercing in unlicensed facility, needle stick exposure, blood transfusion, skin or bone graft
  • Following treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea
  • Following male-male sexual contact
  • Following sexual contact with a high risk individual

There are other changes not listed in the interest of space. If you have previously been deferred by an answer on the donor history questionnaire, call in advance to discuss your existing deferral and to schedule an appointment.

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.
  • Volunteer
    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.

  • 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
    The actual collection for 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

Download a Map

Once you park and enter our hospital:

  1. Stop at the Information Desk
  2. 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.
  3. From the Information Desk, make an immediate right into the main hospital lobby.
  4. 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).
  5. Make an immediate left turn across from the restrooms (if you go through the sliding glass doors, you have gone too far).
  6. 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

Donate Platelets

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 weeks, not to exceed 24 times per year.