Benefits of donating blood

Benefits of donating blood

Updated February 2020.

Blood donation is giving your blood to help improve or save the life of another.  it is not hazardous and it proves to be a healthy habit that helps blood renewal. The volume of blood donation is 450 mls, almost 7.5% of the adult blood volume and this is replenished in a short period of time.

Types of donors
•voluntary/non-remuneration donors
These are the best type as they donate of their own free will, out of sense of duty and do not expect any reward, and have lower incidence and prevalence of transmissible infections.

•Paid/professional donors
They donate for financial gain, not out of any sense of duty. This is not so safe as they mostly live high risk lifestyles and can conceal important medical information because of the financial gain (alcoholics, drug abusers). They sell their blood to engage in these vices. They have a very high incidence of transmissible infections.

•Replacement donors
They donate to replace blood given to a friend or relative. Some hospitals require this before transfusing their patients. The disadvantage is that, a friend/relative who is not a match may result to using professional donors, in order to meet up with the hospital’s requirements.

Who can be a donor?
Absolutely anyone, who meets the following criteria:
•Age: 18-65 yrs
•Weight: 50kg and above
•Haemoglobin level: >13g/dl for men
>12g/dl for women
•Donation intervals: 3 months for men
4 months for women

Who can’t be a donor?
•Girls on their monthly period
•pregnant women
•breastfeeding mothers(up to 1 yr after. delivery)
•those with the following:
– diseases, like hypertension, respiratory disorders, diabetes, liver disease, epilepsy, bleeding disorders, cancers.
– undergoing medical treatments like malaria etc, or are on drugs like aspirin, other NSAIDS(Non-Steroidal anti-Inflammatory Drugs).
– body piercing, tattoo, these can be deferred for 6months
– high risk lifestyles like intravenous drug abusers, prostitutes.
– who received blood transfusion or immunization in the last 6 months.

Benefits of blood donation
Beyond those who receive life-giving blood. REGULAR donors also receive numerous health benefits. They include:

• Free health screening tests: blood pressure, blood group, rhesus status, screening tests for HIV 1 & 2, hepatitis B & C virus, malaria parasite, syphilis
• Reduced risk of heart disease and cancer: It has this effect by reducing iron levels which can thicken blood and increase free-radical damage, which may actually damage the heart and circulatory system and other organs

{A study published in the journal of the National cancer institute involving 1,200 people found those who made bi-annual blood donations had a lower incidence of cancer and mortality than those who didn’t because blood donations lowered their iron levels.}

However, these benefits depend on making donations on a REGULAR basis (2-3 times a year) rather than once in a while.

• Acts of altruism make you feel good! Giving feels great, especially when you understand that one hour of your time and one pint of blood can save so many people.
• Blood Donation gives you the wonderful feeling of saving someone’s life.
• One can diet or remain fit by donating blood regularly. One pint of blood (450 ml) when donated burns 650 calories in donor’s body.
• After donating blood, the count of blood cells decreases in our body, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells in order to replenish the loss. So, it stimulates the production of new blood cells and refreshes the system.
• Regular blood donation helps especially males in loosing iron on regular basis. It helps in reducing the chance of heart attack to one-third.

There’s no substitute for blood donation and giving blood regularly saves lives. One single donation can be split into separate parts, to help save or improve the lives of patients. Just three teaspoons of blood can save the life of a premature baby. If you donate blood, you can help in saving lives of many patients.

For more information, visit or

Safe Blood For Nigeria Foundation, is an NGO working in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Service South South Zone to support blood safety and provide a framework for developing blood transfusion services along best practice standard for Nigeria.

Blood donation in Nigeria is not popular. Read more in TheGuardian Nigeria.