When you volunteer to give blood and attend a blood donation clinic, you will be asked to register with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS). We ask for your name, address, date of birth and telephone numbers. This information is entered on the IBTS computerised donor database and is used by us to communicate with you, e.g. to send invitations to future blood donor clinics. Information related to you and your blood donations is stored securely on the database.
You will be given information to read and a health and lifestyle questionnaire to complete. You will then have an interview with a trained healthcare professional to determine if you are eligible to donate. The purpose of the interview is to ensure that it is safe for you to donate and safe for a patient to receive your blood. All information provided by you will be treated in the strictest confidence. There are many reasons why you may not be eligible to donate and if you are not eligible, the reason for this will be fully explained to you and you will be advised when you can return to donate. While we understand that it may be disappointing for those donors who are unable to donate on a given day, we would encourage all donors to return to give blood when we notify them that they are eligible again, to help us maintain the blood supply to the hospitals.
If you are eligible to donate you will have your Haemoglobin tested. This test is carried out on a capillary sample, i.e. a small drop of blood taken from your fingertip.
A needle attached to a blood pack is inserted into one of the veins in your forearm. Your donation is collected into this pack. Blood samples are collected from this pack during the donation and these are tested in the laboratory post-donation. 470 mls of blood is collected during the donation and this takes approximately 8 minutes. You will be closely monitored by a staff member during this time.
You are advised to remain in the donation clinic for at least 15 minutes after donating. This time is spent in the canteen area where you will be given refreshments. It is important to drink cold fluids post donation in order to rehydrate yourself. You will be given a card with post donation advice. It is important to keep this card for reference purposes.