Blood Donor FAQs
Whether you’re 16 or 96, you can help Central Jersey Blood Center in its mission to provide an adequate, high-quality, and safe supply of blood and blood products to hospitals in New Jersey. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive about blood donation, the benefits of blood donation, and the donation process.
1. Am I Eligible to Donate Blood?
At a glance, blood donors must be at least 16 years of age, must weigh at least 120 pounds, and must have never had hepatitis. In New Jersey, those who are 16 must have parental consent, while anybody over 17 can donate blood without a parent’s or guardian’s consent. Medications frequently taken by healthy individuals, such as aspirin, diet pills, birth control pills, blood pressure medication, and cholesterol medication are not a reason for deferral. The use of other medications will be evaluated by a nurse. To learn more about specific blood donor eligibility, click here.
2. What is blood? What are blood components?
Blood is living tissue that circulates throughout the body. It is made up of plasma, red cells, white cells, and platelets. Plasma brings water and nutrients to every cell in the body; it also sends waste products to the kidneys for excretion. Red cells are carriers of oxygen from the lungs to the entire body. White cells are protectors against disease and infection. They destroy bacteria and help immune defense. Platelets control bleeding; they are tiny cells that help blood to clot.
3. What is plateletpheresis?
Plateletpheresis is the process of collecting a single component of blood—platelets. These tiny cells help blood to clot. As an individual undergoes chemotherapy, they require platelets as a part of their treatment. Diseases such as leukemia that were once 100% fatal are now being treated and often cured by a combination of modern medicine and repeated transfusions of platelets.
4. Why should I donate blood?
There are several reasons to donate blood in NJ, mainly because blood is perishable and supplies of it need to be regularly replenished. Central Jersey Blood Center offers a safe way for people to save lives. All three of our blood donation centers in New Jersey service local hospitals—so you know that your blood is going to help people in your own backyard. Giving blood is a simple way to make a huge difference in the lives of others. From saving lives to helping out locally, there are plenty of reasons to donate blood. NJ’s supply is in constant need, and every donation helps keep levels up!
5. How often can I donate blood in New Jersey?
The donation interval for regular whole blood is 8 weeks, or 56 days, between donations. For 2 unit red cells, you must wait 16 weeks or 112 days. Platelet donors can give every 16 days!
6. How old do I have to be to donate blood?
In order to donate in the state of New Jersey, you must be at least 16 years of age and have parental consent. If you are 17 and older, you do not need your parent’s written permission.
7. How much do I have to weigh to give blood?
For the donor’s own health and safety, they must weigh at least 120 pounds.
8. Who cannot donate blood?
There are some conditions regarding blood donor rules like being on antibiotics or being pregnant that require you to wait a certain length of time before you give blood. You will be automatically deferred if you have hepatitis or are at a high risk for AIDS. To look at all of the blood donation restrictions, click here.
9. What are the side effects of blood donation?
One of the side effects of blood donation is experiencing feelings of light-headedness. This can be remedied by eating a light meal before you donate blood. If you feel dizzy after giving blood, the blood donation center staff members can provide a relaxing place to rest, as well as snacks to help you feel better.
10. Can I give blood if I have a tattoo?
Yes. So long as the tattoo was done in the State of New Jersey and was applied using single-use needle and ink. There is a one-year deferral for tattoos applied out of state.
11. Can I give blood if I have a cold?
If you have a cold, it’s best to wait until your symptoms have diminished.
12. What happens after I donate blood?
After the donation, you may stay at our blood donor center for refreshments. Please refrain from lifting heavy objects with the donating arm within the next four hours and do not smoke for at least one hour.
13. What happens to my blood after I donate?
After you donate blood in New Jersey, your donation is taken to the laboratory at Central Jersey Blood Center for processing. In addition to blood typing, each unit undergoes a rigorous testing procedure to ensure safety. Your blood may also be separated into red cells, platelets, and plasma.
14. Can I bring my child with me when I come to donate blood?
It depends. If you are coming to donate at one of our donor centers in Shrewsbury, Howell, or Toms River, your child may accompany you, but will be asked to wait in either our waiting room lobby or in the refreshment area to ensure everyone’s safety. Please note, your child must be of mature enough age to be left unsupervised.
If you are coming to donate at a blood drive held on a bloodmobile, due to the limited amount of space, we do not allow for visitors to accompany the blood donors on the mobile vehicle. Blood drives that are held in indoor locations may be able to accommodate children or other visitors, but please note that each location is unique. We ask that you please check with your group’s blood drive Coordinator or Account Rep prior to presenting to donate.
15. Are appointments necessary to give blood?
While appointments are preferred, we are usually able to accommodate donors on short notice. Please call 732-842-5750 x264 to schedule an appointment or request your appointment here.
We are happy to answer your questions about giving blood at one of our blood donation centers, or at any of our blood drive locations. You can also contact us by clicking here or calling 732-842-5750.
Ready To Make a Donation? We Invite You To…
- Donate at any of our three New Jersey blood centers. Visit our Shrewsbury, Howell, or Toms River blood center locations to make your donation. Scheduling your appointment is easy, plus you get a 50 point bonus to our Rewards for Life program! Find out more…
- Find a mobile blood drive. Local businesses, schools, and community organizations regularly partner with us to host mobile blood drives. Get together with other members of your community to save lives, locally. Discover blood drive locations and see what’s going on in your area. Find out more…
- Sponsor a blood drive. Want to organize a blood drive in your town? It is a wonderful way to help others, even if you cannot personally give blood. Whether you are part of a local civic group or your employer would like to help, we are always looking for people that want to make a difference. Find out more…