Children's Hospital Colorado

Blood Donation FAQ

Donating blood is a fast and free way to make a big difference. Your donation gives children a better chance for a healthy life. Here’s what to expect at every stage of the process.

Before donating

You’ll make an appointment to come to the first floor of the Administrative Pavilion at Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. You can also search for a mobile blood drive.

  • Wear a short-sleeved shirt or one that the sleeves are easily rolled up for access.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before donating, preferably an extra 16 ounces.
  • Eat a healthy meal at least two hours ahead of time, avoiding fatty foods such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream.
  • Let us know if you prefer us to access one arm over the other, or if you have successfully donated from one arm in the past.

The blood donation process

The blood donation process takes about 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish. When you arrive at the Blood Donor Center or mobile blood drive, you will:

  • Check in with a government-issued ID card, along with your contact information and answer a series of confidential health questions.
  • Have a quick check of your weight, blood pressure, temperature and hemoglobin (protein in your blood that transports oxygen).
  • Donate blood! This step takes about 5 to 15 minutes. We typically draw about 450 milliliters, or about 1 pint, of blood.

After donating

Congratulations on your donation! You’ve made a big impact for kids in need. We recommend that you:

  • Relax for a few minutes and enjoy the light snack that we offer.
  • Drink extra fluids for the following 48 hours.
  • Leave the strip bandage on for several hours after, and to prevent rash, clean the area with soap and water.
  • Avoid hazardous activity the day of donation, such as heavy lifting or climbing ladders.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal with iron-rich foods, such as iron-fortified breads and cereals, spinach, peas, dates, raisins, nuts and juices.

Apheresis platelet donations

In addition to whole blood, we’re seeking platelets, the part of blood that helps your blood clot properly. Platelets last only seven days, so we always need new platelet donations.

Healthy people can donate platelets during a procedure called apheresis. A machine separates your blood into red cells, plasma and platelets, keeps what we need and returns the rest to you.

You can donate platelets every two weeks, and donations take about two hours. We provide movies, WiFi and refreshments.

Learn more about donating blood and how platelets help kids in need.

Ensuring safety

Our team uses sterile, disposable needles and equipment for your safety. We test every unit of blood we collect for blood type and infectious diseases to ensure a safe supply.

What is a mobile blood drive?

Donating blood doesn't take long or cost money, but it makes a big difference. Your donation gives kids a better chance for a healthy life. By giving blood in our Blood Donor Center, at a scheduled blood drive or hosting a drive of your own, you’re helping patients at Children’s Colorado in a simple yet powerful way. 

We offer two ways for individuals and organizations to host a blood drive: at a mobile drive in the community or at our Blood Donor Center in Aurora. Any blood drive can be dedicated to a loved one. 

How to host a mobile blood drive at your location

We know that it’s hard to take time out of your workday to donate, which is why we can come to you.  

Hosting a mobile blood drive is a wonderful way to help ensure that we can meet the transfusion needs of the kids here at Children’s Colorado. The Blood Donor Center provides nearly all of the blood products needed for the over 14,000 transfusions performed at Children’s Colorado each year. Our mobile program collects about 65% of that blood. 

Open the windows below to learn more about hosting a mobile blood drive. 

Updated guidelines to expand donor eligibility

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new evidence-based guidelines that expand eligibility for blood donation. With this change, all blood donor centers in the U.S. are required to ask additional eligibility questions of all prospective blood donors, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Now, more individuals can give the gift of blood donation, including some who may have once been ineligible to donate. These changes represent a significant step in the blood community’s continuing journey to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community of donors.

Learn more about donor eligibility.

Make an appointment to donate blood or platelets

Are you ready to schedule an appointment? Please make an appointment online today through our blood donor portal. You can also use the portal to search where we're hosting mobile blood drives in the upcoming weeks.

For questions, call  720-777-5398 or email