How long does it take to donate blood?

It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to go through all of the steps to donate whole blood and a little longer for other donation types. After you arrive at a San Diego Blood Bank donation center or blood drive, there are typically four steps. 

  1. Registration
    Register with photo ID and provide name, date of birth, address and answer a questionnaire including confidential medical history, travel history, lifestyle, medications and general health.

  2. Health Screening
    Receive a mini health screening where we will take your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and a blood sample to measure hematocrit level to ensure your wellbeing and determine any barriers to donation

  3. Blood Donation
    You will donate a unit of whole blood through a needle in your arm which takes about 8-10 minutes. This step may take longer for different donation types.

  4. Rest & Recovery
    Sit in the canteen for 15 minutes and enjoy a beverage and snack before returning to your day.


Click here to learn more about blood donation and read frequently asked questions. Ready to save lives? Find a location or blood drive near you.