First-Time Blood Donor Information

Thank you for your interest in becoming a blood donor! You probably have some questions and we’re here to help.

Why become a blood donor?

Blood donors truly are lifesavers.
Blood products are used every day to help patients affected by cancer, blood disorders, and accidents or trauma, among others. By becoming a Stanford Blood Center donor, you are joining the ranks of an incredible group of people who are committed to helping us support local patients throughout the Bay Area.

Research Tube Image

You could be part of the cure.
SBC has always been at the forefront of global research and innovation. In addition to providing blood products for transfusion purposes, we also supply researchers with the products they need to discover the causes, prevention and treatment of blood diseases and blood-borne disorders.

Blood donation benefits you, too!
Blood donations in the United States are voluntary, so we do not offer money for donations. However, each time you come in to donate, you earn points that you can redeem for items you’ll love in our Donor Loyalty Store. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for the incredible gift you give when you donate blood. Plus, you get that warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing that you may have saved lives in your community and beyond!

Why choose SBC?

Donors and staff

Our donors are our family

Our donors truly become like family – they often tell us that they feel such a strong personal connection to our team and how it’s such a big part of why they keep coming in to donate.

The donation experience

Because we’re a community blood center, our donors get a personalized level of service. We take time to focus on each individual donor to ensure they have the best donation experience possible.

Think globally, donate locally.

As part of the Stanford community, we can remain focused on serving our local hospitals and patients, while contributing to research and advancement that impacts the world at large.

Before You Donate

To become a blood donor, you must:

  • Be 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), and
  • Weigh 110 pounds
  • Be free of cold and flu symptoms and in general good health

In order to keep the blood supply safe, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also requires blood centers to implement additional eligibility criteria. View more eligibility requirements (like tattoos and common travel deferrals) here.

We know it can be confusing trying to figure out if you are eligible, so please feel free to give us a call at 650-723-7831 with any questions you may have!

Types of Blood Donations

There are four types of donation:

  • Whole Blood
  • Apheresis
  • Platelets
  • Plasma

On your first visit, you’ll start out by donating whole blood. From there, if you’re interested, you can ask one of our team members if you’re a good candidate for other types of donations. Learn more about all the donation types here.

Composition of Blood

What to Expect – Steps to Donating Blood

  1. Make your appointment! Call 888-723-7831 or visit
  2. Follow the pre-donation steps on our Preparing to Donate page.
  3. When you arrive for your appointment, check in with the registration desk
  4. Fill out the medical history questionnaire
  5. Meet with one of our team members to review your eligibility and check your vitals
  6. Get comfortable in the donor chair
  7. Hang out for 5-10 minutes while your blood is collected
  8. Pick your favorite color bandage for your arm wrap
  9. Head to the canteen for refreshments!
Preparing to donate

After You Donate

We hope you enjoyed the feeling of helping others in need, and that you’re planning to donate again soon! Here are some ways you can stay connected to SBC:

  • Take care of yourself. Follow the post-donation steps on our Post-donation page.
  • Create your donor account. When you receive your Donor ID card in the mail (4-6 weeks after your donation), set up your donor account. Here, you can check your donation history, use the points you earn each time you donate to order items in our rewards store, make your next appointment, and so much more! If you need assistance logging in, please visit our help page.
  • Follow us on social. Join our digital community of blood donors by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You’ll enjoy articles and blogs, see photos of fellow blood donors, and stay up-to-date on the latest SBC promotions and events. You can also help us spread the word about blood donation by downloading our social media toolkit!
  • Join us in the community. Connect with us at one of our upcoming community events. Check out our event calendar here:
  • Become a volunteer. If you’re interesting in volunteering with SBC, visit our volunteer page to check out different opportunities.