Six facts about donating blood

To celebrate National Blood Donor Week and World Blood Donor Day, we thought we’d publish six facts about blood donations in Australia that you might not already know.

  1. Depending on the type of donation, there’s a maximum age limit for donating. For whole blood donations, this is your 71st birthday if you’re a new donor, or your 81st birthday if you’re an existing donor. For plasma and platelets donations, the limit is 70 years of age for new donors and 80 years of age for existing donors.

  2. There are further eligibility requirements, but they are not as strict as some people believe. For example, people taking blood pressure medication can usually still donate blood. To check your eligibility, take the Australian Red Cross’ 15-second eligibility quiz.

  3. One blood donation can help save three lives. But while one in three people will need blood at some point in their lives, only one in 30 people donate. The Australian Red Cross needs about 25,000 individual blood donations every week to meet the demand from patients across the country.

  4. Donated blood can be used for 22 different medical treatments with a third used for people with cancer, 19 per cent to treat other causes of anaemia and 18 per cent used in surgical procedures.

  5. After blood is collected at the Red Cross’ donation centres it is transported to one of four processing plants around the country. At the plant, it is logged, tested and then separated into the three components: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Blood donations cannot be stored for longer than a month.

  6. There are eight different groups of blood, with O positive the most common and AB the most rare. O negative red blood cells and AB positive and negative plasma are special as they can be donated to anyone. All the other blood types can only be used as donations for certain blood groups.


If you do meet the eligibility criteria to donate blood, we recommend that you do roll up your sleeve – you never know when you or a loved one will be the one needing a donation.

To find out where your nearest blood donor centre, click here.


YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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