Donor FAQ

1. Is Community Blood Center of the Ozarks affiliated with the Red Cross?

No. Patients and hospitals in southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas and southeast Kansas are served by Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, which is a non-profit, community supported organization.

2. How long does it take to give blood?

The donation process includes registration, a brief medical screening, the blood donation itself, and time for refreshments in the canteen. For whole blood the entire donation process usually takes less than one hour, with the actual donation usually taking about ten minutes. For apheresis (platelet) collections the entire process usually lasts less than two hours.

3. How much blood is taken?

Approximately one pint is collected during a whole blood donation.  Apheresis donations also take about a pint of fluid.  Both donations will weigh approximately one pound.

4. What are platelets?

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are tiny cell fragments which circulate throughout the blood and aid in blood clotting.

5. How often can I give?

Whole blood donors may give once every fifty-six days in order to allow plenty of time to replenish their red cells. Apheresis (platelet) donors can donate more frequently, as much as each week up to twenty four times per year, because the platelet and plasma components are replaced in the body more quickly than red cells. Platelets will return to normal levels within a few hours of donating. Plasma, the watery substance of your blood, takes a couple of days. The red blood cells, the oxygen carrying cells, can take two weeks or longer to fully return to normal.

6. How much blood do I have in my body?

It depends on you body mass.  As a general rule, women have approximately ten pints and men have approximately twelve pints of blood.

7. Is there a minimum or maximum age limit on donating blood?

The minimum age to be able to donate to CBCO is sixteen (with written consent from parent or guardian) or 17 in all other cases. There is no upper age limit.

8. What is the universal blood type?

Type O negative, occurring in about 7% of the U.S. population, is the “universal blood type” and can given to anyone regardless of their own blood type.

9. How long until my blood is used?

Blood donations are tested for a variety of diseases, but it’s not uncommon for a donation to be ready for transfusion within twenty-four hours. Whole blood is processed into components (red cells, platelets, plasma). After processing, the red cells can be stored for forty-two days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to twelve months and platelets (from whole blood or by apheresis) expire after five days.

10. Are the health history questions necessary every time?

To ensure the safest possible blood supply, all screening questions must be asked of all donors at each donation. The FDA requires that all blood centers conform to this practice.

11. How can I increase my iron level?

Donors may be deferred from donating due to a low iron level. This requirement is for the safety of the donor to ensure that after donation, the donor’s iron level will still be within the normal range for a healthy adult. A deferral for low iron does not mean a donor is anemic because these levels can fluctuate daily. Eating foods high in iron (e.g. red meat, dark green vegetables, raisins) or taking a multivitamin with iron may help increase your iron level.

12. Why are pregnant women unable to donate?

Although no problems have been reported, the safety of donating blood during or shortly after pregnancy has not been fully established. There may be medical risks to mother and baby if a blood donation is made while pregnant or shortly after pregnancy.

13. Does CBCO pay donors for giving blood?

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks blood donors are volunteers.  They are not compensated.  Additionally, FDA regulations do not permit compensation for blood that is used for transfusion purposes as studies have shown that volunteer donors provide a safer blood supply.

14. Why is there often a blood shortage?

CBCO strives to maintain an optimum inventory level of a three day supply. Due to unpredictable demands from trauma incidents the inventory fluctuates hourly. When the supply drops below a three day reserve level, CBCO alerts local donors and area media outlets in order for the sup0ply to return to normal levels.

15. May I bring children into the screening room or the drawing area?

Due to the risk of exposure to blood and needles in the collection area and the need for complete confidentiality during screening, children must remain in the canteen or waiting areas. We feel that it is important to let the children know what their parents are doing, and if time permits, we are more than happy to answer questions and explain the donation process.

16. How may I have a blood drive at work?

Contact us for more information about the requirements to host a blood drive.

17. Where are the Donor Centers located?

CBCO currently has four Donor Centers located in Springfield, Mo., Joplin, Mo., Springdale, Ark. and Bentonville, Ark.  CBCO also has mobile collection units that travel to work sites, schools, events or meetings throughout the Ozarks.  For more information on where to give, click here.