Regional Blood Center - Blood Donor Standards - Can You Donate?

We have long struggled to meet the high demands for blood products, and now as new diseases arise, it is becoming even more increasingly difficult.

With new problems such as West Nile Virus, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and smallpox, the number of screening tests and restrictions has grown. Blood donors are subject to nearly 50 questions before they can donate.

The increasing restrictions are taking their toll on our blood supply. Now more than ever the need for blood is critical.

We are encouraging all healthy adults to please consider donating blood at our U.P. Regional Blood Center or any one of our blood drives across the U.P.

As a prospective donor, you must appear to be in good health, and are questioned regarding medical conditions, travel history, immunizations, medications, and life style.

Your hemoglobin level will be tested by doing a finger stick. Blood pressure, temperature, and pulse are also recorded. Once the screening process is completed successfully, the donation takes place.

The blood then goes through a series of tests such as HIV, Hepatitis B & C, Syphilis, HTLV I & II, and West Nile Virus. The blood can then be typed and labeled for use when it has met all of the safety criteria.

Fortunately the investment of time on behalf of the donor is minimal. Donations generally take no more than 30-45 minutes to complete the entire process. The work of the laboratory, on the other hand, is quite extensive.

Before you donate, you may wish to review the following list which contains just some of the reasons why you may be deferred from donating. If you are associated with any of these restrictions, it does not necessarily exclude you from donating, depending on time frames and other circumstances.


-Have taken any of the following medications: Avodart, Proscar, Propecia, Accutane, Soriatane, or Tegison.
-Received live or attenuated viral and bacterial vaccines, Hepatitis B Immune Globulin, or Vaccinia vaccine.
-Diagnosis or symptoms associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), Hepatitis, HIV, or West Nile Virus.
-Hemoglobin less than 12.5 g/dL.
-Less than 17 years of age.
-Temperature above 99.5F or 37.5C.
-Irregular and/or rapid pulse.
-Blood pressure greater than 180/100mm.
-Weighing less than 110 lbs.
-Have donated blood in the last 8 weeks.
-Indications of alcohol or drug abuse.
-Any activities or history that may associated with AIDS or Hepatitis.
-A history of Babesiosis, Chaga’s disease, or malaria.
-Had a tattoo or piercings in the last year.
-Exposure to blood-born pathogens.
-Positive test for syphilis or gonorhea or have been treated for syphilis or gonorhea.
-Have any broken bones.
-Having been incarcerated.
-Travel to Europe or England - 1980 to 1997.
-If you have had cancer you are ok to donate after being cancer free for 1 year and 1 year free of treatment of cancer. (ex. chemotheraypy, radiation...) The cancers that are not acceptable are Malignant melanoma, leukemia, lymphoma, hodgkins' disease and all other hematologic cancers: these are permanent deferrals.


Please don’t let this discourage you from donating blood. All of these restrictions insure that our blood supply is safe for our recipients.


Again, some of these activities or occurrences do not necessarily mean you cannot donate. Our questionnaires help to determine which circumstances are allowable and which are not. Please call the Blood Center if you have any questions -
906-225-4610 or 1-800-491-4483.


We hope that you will realize how critical the need for blood is. Roll up your sleeve and please come to donate!

A Special Type of Lifesaver - an Apheresis Donor

Why be an apheresis donor?

Many patients including cancer and heart surgery patients, can't produce enough platelets to stop bleeding or white blood cells to fight infection.  These blood parts are essential for life.  An apheresis donor can help to give these critically ill patients another chance at life.

What is apheresis?

(a - fur - e' - sis)

Unlike a "whole blood" donation in which a unit of whole blood is removed from your body, the apheresis process connects you to a machine that removes only one or two components from your blood, and then returns the rest of the blood back to you.

It takes about one and a half hours for platelet apheresis and two and a half hours for white cell apheresis.  Donations can be done every 2 weeks.

The collection process is absolutely sterile so the risk to you, the donor, is no greater than when you donate a unit of whole blood.

Who can be a special donor?

Apheresis donors must meet the following requirements:

•must be at least 17 years of age.

•weight must be at least 110 pounds.

•be willing to spend one and half  hours for a platelet donation (slightly longer for white blood cell donation).

You will be given a mini-physical including a blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin check.  Platelet donors need to be aspirin free for 36 hours, also plavix and ticlid free for 14 days, and have not taken any non-steroidal anti-inflammaroties in the last 24 hours before donating.  White blood cell donations may require medication prior to the donation.  

Every time you donate blood, someone benefits.  You can be sure that your apheresis donation is helping a person with very special health care needs.

For information or an appointment, please call 225-4610 or 1-800-491-4483 (GIVE)


How Donations Are Used

For more information on how you can make a "gift of life" donation of whole blood to the people of the U.P., please call the U.P. Regional Blood Center 906-225-4610 or Toll Free 1-800-491-GIVE (4483), ext. 4610.

We hope you'll consider donating to blood drives offered by the U.P. Regional Blood Center based at Marquette General Hospital.

Volunteer Blood Donations

Volunteer whole blood donations to the U.P Regional Blood Center directly help a variety of people from a grandmother having heart surgery, to a child with cancer, to a young parent in an auto accident. If it matters to you how your blood donation is used, please consider donating to the U.P Regional Blood Center.

Each year a member of your family, neighborhood or community receives Blood Center products from 13 U.P hospitals.

Whole blood is donated by volunteer donors and can be separated into several components (red blood cells, plasma and platelets).

Just one pint of donated blood can help save the lives of several people. Anyone who is in good health, is at least 17 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate blood every 56 days. There is no artificial substitute for whole blood.


Commercial Plasma Collections

Commercial plasma collection centers collect only one part of blood: plasma.  It's used to manufacture a prescription medicaition that benefits a small population of patients. 

Although individuals providing commercial plasma receive monetary compensation, it's important to remember that a volunteer donation of a pint of whole blood directly benefits as many as four patients living in the Upper Peninsula, who pay only for processing costs; not for the blood itself.

If it matters to you how your blood donation is used, we hope you'll consider donating to the U.P. Regional Blood Center.

What About Blood Charges?

The blood donated by volunteer donors is free and available to anyone who needs it.  As all non-profit blood centers do, the U.P. Regional Blood Center charges a processing fee to recover costs for recruiting donors, collecting, processing, testing, and distributing blood. In most cases, these costs are paid by health insurance plans.

The U.P. Regional Blood Center continues to be among the lowest-cost blood providers in Michigan and the nation.  U.P. volunteer donors giving blood regularly reduce the need for blood to be imported from other blood centers outside our area at a higher cost.

Resource Sharing

The U.P. Regional Blood Center, like most blood centers, participates in a national resource sharing program.  Large metropolitan areas frequently use more blood than their local blood centers collect, and seasonal shortages occur across the nation when severe weather or disaster prevents blood centers from collecting enough blood to meet the need.  When this occurs, other blood centers help through a national resource sharing program.

Blood collected by the U.P. Regional Blood Center, in excess of the need by U.P. patients, is made available to blood centers and hospitals experiencing shortages in other areas of Michigan and the nation.

This is done only after our U.P. needs have been met.  The U.P. Regional Blood Center is reimbursed by these blood centers and hospitals for the products and transportation costs.