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Who Can Donate Blood?

A full 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood. The unfortunate fact, however, is that, nationally, only 5 percent actually do. Locally, in Southern California, only 3 percent of those eligible actually donate. To donate the gift of life, you must:
  • Be at least 15 years of age
  • 15 and 16-year-olds need a written LifeStream parental consent
Click here (En Espanol) to download a High School Donor Brochure/Parental Consent form.

How Often Can You Donate Blood

Amazingly, your body quickly replenishes any blood that you donate. In fact, a healthy adult can donate whole blood every 56 days - or approximately 8 weeks. Plasma can be donated as often as once a month. Platelets can be given every 2 weeks up to 24 times each year. When you give through automation, also known as apheresis, you may be able to save more lives more often.


Blood donations are used every day for surgery patients, cancer patients, accident victims, bone marrow recipients, burn patients and organ transplant recipients; just to name a few of the beneficiaries.

A heart surgery patient needs up to 6 units of red blood cells and 1 platelet transfusion.

A liver transplant recipient needs up to 20 units of red blood cells, 25 units of plasma and 2 platelet transfusions.

A cancer patient needs up to 8 platelet transfusions per week. Cancer patients account for almost 20 percent of all blood transfusions given.

A sickle cell anemia patient needs 2 to 10 units of red blood cells per treatment.

A marrow transplant recipient needs up to 20 units of red blood cells and 25 platelet transfusions.

A trauma victim may need up to 50 units of red blood cells as well as plasma and platelets.

One in seven people will need a blood transfusion sometime in their lifetime. Blood needs to be donated, tested, ready and available for transfusion before it's needed.


How Much Blood Does Your Body Have?
  • Blood makes up about 7 percent of a person's weight.
  • An adult body of average weight has between 12 - 14 pints of blood.
  • A 110-pound teenager has around 7 pints of blood.
  • A 40-pound child has around 2 to 3 pints of blood.

One Donation Can Save Several Lives

One pint of blood can be separated into three primary components which can help up to several people in need:
  • Red Blood Cells - carry oxygen to the body's organ and tissues. These cells are needed for accident victims and surgery patients. They can be refrigerated and stored for only up to 42 days.
  • Plasma - is 90 percent water, makes up to 55 percent of blood volume and is needed for organ, burn and shock patients. Plasma can be frozen and stored up to one year.
  • Platelets - are an essential factor in blood clotting and give patients with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live. These can be stored at room temperature no longer than 5 days.
All three of these important components that make up a pint of blood are made in the body's bone marrow.

About 1 billion red blood cells are found in just 2 to 3 drops of whole blood. For every 600 red blood cells there are approximately 40 platelets and 1 white cell.

Nationally, more men than women donate blood. Locally, more women than men donate! The average patient who needs a transfusion uses about 3 pints of blood and blood components.

When was the last time you gave blood?


There are four blood groups: type O, A, B and AB.

There are eight blood types which include: type O positive,/O negative, type A positive/A negative, type B positive/B negative and type AB positive/AB negative.

Who has it?

In a room of 100 people:
45 will have type O
38 will be O+
7 will be O-
40 will have type A
34 will be A+
6 will be A-
11 will be type B
9 will be B+
2 will be B-
4 will be type AB
3 will be AB+
1 will be AB-
Blood Percentages


Type "O negative" blood is often called the universal blood type because patients of all blood types can receive type O negative red cells. This is the type that is transfused to patients in an emergency situation.

Patients with type "AB positive" blood are often called universal recipients because they can receive red cells of any blood type. And, type AB plasma and platelets are universal in their ability to help any patient.

After blood is drawn, it is typed for ABO group (blood type) and RH type (positive or negative), tested to ensure its safety for patients (see screening tests performed below), and separated into the necessary components and distributed to local medical facilities for patients-in-need.

Blood screening tests:

Hepatitis B surface Ag
Anti-HIV 1, 2
HIV NAT (nucleic Acid Technology)
West Nile Virus NAT
Bacterial Detection (Platelet Pheresis only)
Chagas Testing