What to Expect

You know there are good reasons to give blood, but if you haven't donated before, you are probably wondering what to expect. 

Read on for a quick overview of what happens, and watch our video below for some helpful tips for a great donation!


Before Donation

  • Get a good night's sleep the night before your donation.
  • The day of your donation, use CFLexpress to complete your health history interview from your home or office. This is optional, but will help speed up your donation! Don't forget to print your ticket.
  • Read the information sheet about donating blood.
  • Be sure to eat a hearty meal and drink plenty of fluids before you donate.

Health History

  • A Blood Center crew member will welcome you into a screening booth, where you'll present your photo ID and provide basic information about yourself. If you used CFLexpress, present your ticket.
  • In private, answer questions about your past and present health; this information is kept confidential.
  • The screener will return and administer a mini health exam (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate).
  • A blood drop will be taken from your finger to determine your blood type and hematocrit level.


  • A crew member will escort you to a donation bed, where your arm will be examined and cleaned with a wet scrub.
  • Now your donation begins. Once the needle is in place, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to give a unit of whole blood. If you are giving an automated donation - like platelets, plasma or double red cells - our staff will let you know how long the procedure should take.
  • During your donation, use Applied Muscle Tension, alternately contracting and relaxing muscle groups in the body. One method is to tighten the muscles of the legs and buttocks for about five seconds, relax for five to 10 seconds and repeat. Another method is to squeeze a ball in the hand.
  • Once your donation is complete, the needle will be removed and a bandage will be applied.

After Donation

  • Sit and have a snack and a drink, relaxing for at least 15 minutes.
  • Talk with the staff about scheduling your next donation. You'll earn bonus points for doing so!
  • As long as you're feeling well (not lightheaded or dizzy), go out and enjoy your day. Be proud that you've helped save a life!
  • Drink additional water, keep the bandage in place for a few hours and avoid strenuous physical activity for the remainder of the day. If you begin to feel lightheaded or dizzy, lie down until feeling better.
  • The following day, log on to Digital Donor to view your health check results and points you've earned for the Commit for Life Store!
Blood Center News
Have you given a Holiday Hug?

One of the best parts of the Holiday Hugs tradition is reading the notes our donors write for patients in the hospital over the holidays. It’s not an easy task as each patient has his or her own individual circumstance, so we’re restricted in which cards we tie to each bear. Still, many of our donors are well up to the task.

Every day, someone’s life is being saved.

By Tammie Riley 

I learned something the other day. Every day, someone’s life is being saved. I know that seems obvious, but let that sink in. What may be a normal Thursday for most could be something completely different for someone else. And that’s exactly what happened to donor Gary Gilson. Aug. 16 was one of the most important moments in Gary’s life. Not only did he save lives that day, but someone else saved the life of his loved one, as well.

Hospital tour highlights need

A 3-year-old girl lies in a hospital bed in the middle of the room with monitors attached to her bare chest. She’s awake, but she doesn’t lift her head as we walk into the room. Still, she follows us with her eyes. The only sound we hear from her is a small cough while a nurse comes in to check her stats.


The Blood Center teams up with Sickle Cell Association of Houston

The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center partnered with the Sickle Cell Association of Houston to host a blood drive Sept. 15 in recognition of Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.

Blood transfusion is one treatment used to combat complications from sickle cell disease, a form of anemia most likely to affect people of African descent. Prince and her now 27-year-old daughter, Quannecia McCruse, founded the Sickle Cell Association of Houston years ago to educate and provide resources to the community.


Drive and save lives

Penny, a local teacher with some free time over the summer, has helped us kick off our new Volunteer Driver program. Are you interested in joining us in our mission to save lives? Call us at (713) 791-6262 or email volunteering@giveblood.org.

Overcoming fear: Donating blood for the first time

I’m a scaredy-cat. I readily admit it. I hate needles. That’s always been my excuse for why I don’t volunteer for anything with a needle. Flu shot? No way. Vaccines? I still remember the sheer terror I felt from them growing up. 

We are always #HoustonStrong

We never know when the next tragedy will strike, but we have to be ready when it does come. 

Meet Eden

CYPRESS – There is nothing more American than baseball and saving lives. Everyone who participates in The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Home Run for Life competition will get a chance at both through June 30.


SuperMax is the hero Houston needs!

Max was born with a genetic disorder (neurofibromatosis type 1) that can cause tumors to grow on his nerve endings, and SuperMax has been his alter ego ever since. 

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center mourns Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush helped save lives in our community, and we celebrate her lifetime of accomplishments. The former First Lady set the bar high in her commitment to helping others.


Dr. Charles Drew: A Blood Banking Pioneer

Here at The Blood Center, we pride ourselves on being an organization of diversity. We work together to save and sustain lives, and we each bring a unique perspective when it comes to fulfilling our mission.

Tying the knot and saving lives

Hurricane Harvey destroyed homes, cars and many other things, but one thing it couldn’t destroy is the compassion for others in newlywed couple Gilbert and Stefanie Cruz. Gilbert and Stefanie were set to get married just a few days after Harvey passed, but due the storm’s aftermath they had to alter all of their plans on a moment’s notice.


Blood on ambulances helps EMS agencies save more lives

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has partnered with two local agencies providing emergency medical services to help save more lives when time is of the essence, now administering whole blood to patients on the ground.

Donor coaches hit the road sporting new look, features

In the last two years, five of The Blood Center's donor coaches have been refurbished. Find out why this is such an important process.

Circle of Life Bike Tour celebrates life

The Lone Star Circle of Life bike tour visits Texas cities to raise awareness of the need for blood, marrow, organ and tissue donations to honor those impacted by these donation types. This year’s eight-day, 600-mile tour included stops in Houston and College Station.

Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
1400 La Concha Lane
Houston, TX 77054

© Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center - Houston, Texas. All rights reserved. Powered by ContentActive