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The Process to Donate Blood

Donating blood and blood products is an easy, safe and rewarding process and your donation is vital to the success of the St. Jude mission. Every product collected in our donor center goes directly to the patients at the hospital.

Get Pre-Screened

Do you travel overseas often? Have you served in the military? Do you take medication? We recommend that you call our Blood Donor Center to get pre-screened for blood donation eligibility. The donor center recruiters can answer your medical and travel questions and determine if you are eligible to donate prior to setting an appointment for you.

Make an Appointment

If you live in the Memphis area or know you will be visiting the hospital, you can schedule your appointment to donate blood by calling (901) 595-2024 or by submitting an online request form. The Blood Donor Center accepts donors Monday through Friday at the following times:

Available Appointment Times
8 a.m.* 8:15 a.m.* 8:30 a.m.* 8:45 a.m.* 9 a.m. 10 a.m.
10:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 10:45 a.m. LUNCH** 12:30 p.m. 12:45 p.m.
1 p.m. 1:15 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 1:45 p.m. 2:45 p.m. 3 p.m.
3:15 p.m. 3:30 p.m. 3:45 p.m. 4 p.m.    

*Not available on Tuesdays
**Closed for lunch daily from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Before You Donate

Have a good meal; drink plenty of fluids prior to donating blood. Get a good night’s rest the evening before. Please do not donate if you are having a medical issue or if you simply don’t feel well.

Getting to the Donor Center

Enter the St. Jude campus from the guard gate located at 262 Danny Thomas. Tell the guard that you here to donate blood. He/she will issue you a temporary parking pass and direct you to the blood donor parking lot. Please enter the hospital through the door marked “Blood Donor,” located just to the right of the main entrance.

Upon Arrival

When you arrive, you will be asked to read some educational materials that contain information about the recipient’s (patient’s) risk of infectious diseases that can be transmitted via blood transfusion. You will be asked to acknowledge in writing that you have read and understand these materials, that you have been given the opportunity to ask questions, and that you have provided accurate information.

Self-deferral can occur at any point in the donation process when a donor voluntarily chooses not to complete the process.

Physical Examination

You will be asked about your health history and given an abbreviated physical examination. If your health history or your physical examination shows any risk to you or the recipient, you will be “deferred” (asked not to donate).

In addition to gathering information about general health, medication and travel, your visit to the Blood Donor Center will include a quick check of your blood pressure and pulse, body temperature and hemoglobin (iron). A few drops of blood will be taken from your finger and tested to ensure your iron level (hemoglobin) is adequate for blood donation. 

Physical exam findings beyond the Blood Donor Center’s acceptable limits may be cause for deferral. See Eligibility to Donate for more information.

Donor History

Once you have successfully completed the brief physical examination, you will proceed to the next step and will be asked to give details regarding your health and travel outside of the United States. The questions you will be asked regarding health history are designed to protect the health of both you and the recipient of your blood product. In addition to questions about transfusion-transmissable diseases and infection, you will also be asked questions that will help determine whether donating blood might endanger your health.

The health history is also used to determine whether you have been exposed to or have diseases such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis or malaria. If you have been exposed, you will be evaluated further and may not be allowed to donate.

The questionnaire will also include the documentation of travel outside of the United States. Please come prepared with a list of countries you have visited, dates of travel, and how long your stay was in these areas. Travel also includes residency in countries other than the U.S. Feel free to contact the Blood Donor Center and we can screen your travel over the phone.

If there is any chance that donating may endanger your health or the recipient of your blood product, you will be deferred. Please see Eligibility to Donate for common reasons for donor deferral.

The Actual Donation

Whole blood donors can expect to be at the donor center for approximately 30 minutes. Platelet donors should make arrangements to spend at least 2 hours with us. We encourage our donors to relax in one of our comfortable donor chairs and enjoy a movie from our collection (you may bring your own if you wish). We’ll even make you popcorn!

Following Donation

After your product has been collected, you will be given as much time as you needed to relax and recover. You will be given cookies and juice to help your body recover from blood volume loss. The puncture site will be dressed with a gauze pressure dressing and we recommend you leave this bandage on for an hour. If you experience any issues with the site afterwards, do not hesitate to call the donor center or come by.

You will need to eat a healthy meal that evening and drink plenty of fluids. Be sure to mark your calendar and make an appointment for your next donation!