The FDA has announced it is proposing a change from time-based deferrals to assessing blood donor eligibility using gender-inclusive, individual risk-based questions. While a timeline hasn’t been announced, Stanford Blood Center enthusiastically supports this announcement and the proposal to adopt an individual risk-based approach to donor eligibility. Learn more about this new proposed change here.

Did you know…?

About every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

That means, this many people have needed blood since you arrived here:

Today’s Blood Need

Click a blood type or product below to learn more. Those in red indicate an increased need today.

Due to lower levels of community infection and in alignment with federal, state and local guidances and Stanford Medicine policies, as of February 3, 2023, SBC does not require masking in most donation scenarios. SBC continues to strongly recommend masking for all donors, team members, visitors and volunteers, particularly in indoor spaces. There are a few exceptions where a minimum of procedural (surgical) masking remains mandatory. Learn more at


A new year means experiencing new opportunities! So, start 2023 off right by making your first blood donation! Make a significant impact this year by donating blood to help support local patients in our community. Learn how you can participate in the #YearofFirsts blood donor program and see more first-time donor stories.

Blood Donation: How It Works

Preparing to donate

Before your appointment:

  • Always be sure to drink plenty of water before donating blood!
  • Eat an iron-rich meal. Eating enough iron is essential to ensuring that your hemoglobin level is right for donating. You can check out some tips on getting enough iron here.
  • Bring your donor ID. If you have a donor ID, be sure to bring it with you to your appointment. First-time donors or returning donors without a donor ID card should bring a valid state-issued photo identification.

Avoid alcohol and fatty foods for 24 hours, and aspirin (if donating platelets) for 48 hours, before your donation.

Donating blood relaxing

The Donation Process

Congratulations, you made an appointment to donate blood and save lives! So what happens now? There are four basic steps to every blood donation:

  1. Registration
  2. Medical History
  3. Donation
  4. Rest & Refreshments

After your blood donation:

  • Always be sure to drink plenty of water to rehydrate.
  • Sit down or lie down if you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Call our post-donation callback line at (650) 725-9968 if you feel unwell.
  • Rest and replenish iron. We recommend you take an iron supplement and/or eat foods rich in iron combined with a source of vitamin C after your donation.

Avoid alcoholic beverages and vigorous exercise for at least 24 hours after donating, and be sure to keep that bandage on for a few hours!

Please call our post-donation callback line at (650) 725-9968 immediately if you:

  • feel that your blood should not be given to a patient;
  • are not sure that your blood is safe;
  • develop a fever within 24 hours after donating;
  • have any illness within two weeks of your donation; or
  • are diagnosed by a physician as having West Nile, dengue, chikungunya, Zika, or Ebola virus Infection.


FDA Proposes Individual Risk Assessment for Blood Donations, While Continuing to Safeguard U.S. Blood Supply

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today, January 27, 2023, that it is proposing a change from time-based deferrals to assessing blood donor eligibility using gender-inclusive, individual risk-based questions to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV. This proposal is in line with policies in place in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada. Stanford...

Paying It Forward: Tadashi Okuno’s 200 Blood Donations (And Counting!)

What does your 200th blood donation mean to you? Two hundred donations represent 25 Gallons! I’ve contributed a valued, tangible resource that can perhaps further research, education or life-saving medical treatment, and that feels great! What led you to donate blood the first time? I first donated blood upon accepting an acquaintance’s invitation to participate…

Michael Peredo: Traveling the Road to Triple Platelets

If you’re a donor, you probably know that platelets help to induce clotting and control bleeding and are needed for local patients. Unfortunately, most cancer treatments cause low blood counts, so patients often require life-saving blood products during treatment. Donating platelets is a great way to support cancer patients in our community, especially those treated for leukemia…