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Jun 14, 2023

14 June marked a very important day that often goes by unnoticed. World Blood Donor Day shines a light on the significance of donating blood, and how it really is possible for everyone to save a life.

Donating blood is a true act of altruism – giving without expecting anything in return, and not knowing who will receive your gift.

But what does it take to become a blood donor?

How to become a blood donor

Becoming a blood donor involves a simple and straightforward process. Here are the key steps:


Before donating blood, you need to check if you meet the criteria to become a blood donor. The criteria is put into place to protect the donor and the recipient.

According to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), the criteria to become a blood donor are:

  • You are between the ages of 16 and 75 years old, for first time donors.
  • You weigh a minimum of 50 kgs (and for donating platelets a minimum of 55 kgs)
  • You are in good health.
  • You lead a low-risk lifestyle.
  • You consider your blood safe for transfusion.
  • You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.
  • You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and platelets in the last 14 days).
  • Your pulse is between 60-100 regular beats per minute.

Find a donor centre

Next, find a donor centre. The SANBS has a handy map with a list of donor centres here: SANBS Website.


At the centre, you’ll have to undergo a health screening. These confidential interviews will determine your eligibility, and get you prepared to donate. The staff will also discuss any side-effects you might feel. Once the interview is over, your blood pressure and iron levels are checked.


If you are cleared, you’ll get a comfortable chair to sit in, and the process will begin. Generally, the donation takes about 30 minutes to complete. You’ll then be prepped for what to expect the rest of the day and any precautions you’ll need to take will be discussed.

Donating blood is a truly selfless act that can change someone’s life. From people undergoing cancer treatment, to children with life-threatening illnesses and accident patients. Your blood can help someone live out the rest of their life. If you’re ever in hospital and need a blood transfusion, remember that someone just like you took that step to save your life.



South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Nd. Donation process. Available here.

South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Nd. Who can donate. Available here.

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