Donating blood

Introduction

You can donate blood to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS).

There is no risk of contracting any disease by donating blood.

Donors are not paid for blood or platelet donations in Ireland.

How to donate blood

You must book an appointment to give blood. Freephone 1800 731 137 to book an appointment in a clinic.

You can also phone your nearest blood donation clinic to make an appointment. Find contact details and opening times on the Irish Blood Transfusion clinic finder.

If you cannot find a blood donation clinic near you, you can register your interest in donating blood and the IBTS will contact you when there is a clinic nearby.

Before you go to the clinic, drink plenty of water and eat something substantial in the 3 hours before your appointment. You should allow 60-90 minutes for your appointment. Read what you should do before donating blood to reduce fainting.

Can I give blood?

Before going to a clinic to give blood, you should complete the Blood Eligibility Quiz online to check if you can donate.

You must be aged 18 to donate blood. If you are aged over 65, you may not be able to donate blood unless you have donated before.

Sometimes it is never safe to donate blood, for example if you have had cancer or malaria. Sometimes you may have to wait a period of time before it is safe to donate blood, for example if you recently got a tattoo. You can read about how long you should wait to give blood on the IBTS website.

If you have any queries about donating blood, you can contact the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Information Line on 1800 731 137.

Blood donation procedure

  1. When you arrive for your appointment, you will check-in at reception first with your photo-ID.
  2. You will be given the Pre Donor Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire to fill out.
  3. You will have an interview with a healthcare professional who will check if it is safe for a patient to receive your blood. All the information you provide is treated as strictly confidential.
  4. If it is safe for you to donate, a drop of blood will be taken from your fingertip. This blood is tested for its iron level (haemoglobin) content.
  5. A clean (sterile) needle is inserted into one of the veins in your forearm, this is attached to a blood pack that collects your blood donation. You might be asked to open and close your hand to ensure smooth blood flow.
  6. Just under 1 pint of your blood (470 ml) is collected into this pack during the blood donation which takes about 15 minutes.

You can read more about giving blood in the Blood Donation Information Leaflet (pdf).

After you give blood

After you give blood, you should rest in the canteen for at least 15 minutes, drink cold non-alcoholic drinks and eat the snacks that are available.

You will be given an advice card explaining what to do after giving blood. If you become unwell in the 4 weeks after your donation, you should contact the IBTS.

Contact the IBTS immediately by Freephone 1800 731 137 if you remember anything after your blood donation that could make your blood unsafe for a patient to receive.

You can give blood again in 90 days if you are still eligible.

Is donated blood tested?

Every blood donation is tested for certain diseases, for example HIV. Your blood donation will be tested to check it is safe for a patient to receive it. If your blood is positive in any of the tests, you will be contacted by the IBTS. Read more about the testing of blood donations in the IBTS.

Donating platelets

Platelets are small blood cells that are present in your blood and are essential to enable blood to clot properly. When you donate platelets, they go to patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer or leukaemia, especially people receiving chemotherapy or after a bone marrow transplant.

Platelets can only be used for 5–7 days after the donation, so there is always a need for donations.

Read more about platelet donation on the IBTS website and in this IBTS leaflet on platelet donation.

How to donate platelets

Before registering to give platelets, you should complete the Platelet Eligibility Quiz online to check if you can donate.

If you are eligible, register online to donate platelets.

Check the IBTS website to see where your nearest platelet donation clinic is located, what time it is open and how to make an appointment.

You will have to complete a Health and Lifestyle questionnaire when you arrive at the clinic and you will be interviewed by a health professional.

Donating platelets takes about 50-70minutes. You can donate again in 28 days, if it is safe for you to donate platelets.

Donating Bone Marrow

You can join the Irish Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry (IUBMR) if you would like to donate bone marrow. This is a register of people who would like to donate their bone marrow if they are found to match a patient needing a bone marrow transplant.

It is important to understand what is involved in donating bone marrow. You can read about the process of donating bone marrow, check if it is safe for you to donate and join the bone marrow register on the IBTS website.

Contact details

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

National Blood Centre
James's Street
Dublin 8
Ireland

Tel: (01) 432 2800
Locall: Information Line 1850 731 137
Fax: (01) 432 2930

Page edited: 15 June 2022