woman donating blood

Blood Donations

Donating blood is an easy and safe way to save a life. Every day, UC Irvine Medical Center patients require blood or platelets to help fight cancer, to replace what is lost in a trauma or to treat a chronic disease. Your donation can make a huge difference in the life of someone here in Orange County.

Patients of the medical center rely on more than 20,000 blood products each year for their survival. Every one of these products comes from caring people like you — family, friends and others who want to make a difference.

Since there is no substitute for blood, your donation is a critical lifeline to the men, women and children in our care.

In addition to our blood mobile — which travels throughout Orange County — we have two locations for blood and platelet donations that directly support patients hospitalized at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Irvine Donor Center

Our Irvine donor center is located on the UC Irvine campus. This is our primary donor center and is open Monday through Friday.

On occasion, we close the donor center so our staff can assist at large community blood drives. If you plan to come to the Irvine Donor Center, we recommend that you make an appointment or call us to check if we are open. 

UC Irvine Donor Center
106B, Student Center
Irvine, CA 92697-1550


Monday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday: noon-7 p.m.
Thursday: noon-7 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Directions and parking information ›

Make an appointment at the Irvine Blood Donor Center ›

Orange Donor Center

Our Orange donor center is located at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Orange Donor Center
101 The City Drive South
Pavilion 3, Room 170
Orange, CA 92868
714-456-LIFE (714-456-5433)*

*Please note that we may be out at a community blood drive Tuesday through Friday. Please leave a detailed message if there is no answer. If you have questions, please call the Irvine donor center at 949-824-2662.


Monday: 7:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m.
Saturday: Platelets (by appointment only)

Directions and parking information ›

Make an appointment at the Orange Blood Donor Center ›

Whole blood

A whole blood donation is the most common form of blood donation in which a person gives one pint of blood.

The actual “draw” time averages about seven minutes, but the entire process takes approximately 45 minutes from start to finish.

After your donation, our lab separates the whole blood into its components. We do this because it allows us to deliver what patients need more specifically. Your blood is made up of multiple life-saving components. You can donate whole blood every 56 days. 

There are certain requirements to donate blood. Please see Who Can Donate ›

Learn more about the blood donation process ›


Platelets are collected using a process called apheresis. Apheresis is a special kind of blood donation: Instead of giving one pint of whole blood, a platelet donor gives only the platelet component of their blood.

This process is made possible by an amazing machine that separates the components of your blood, collects only the platelets and a small amount of plasma, and returns your red cells back to you. This is a very safe process, as your blood is inside of sterile tubing and never comes in contact with any part of the machine at any time. The actual “draw” time ranges from 60-120 minutes, but we ask that you reserve about 2½ hours for the entire process.

Because platelets reproduce so quickly, you can donate platelets every seven days, with a maximum of 24 donations in a 12 month period.

The requirements for platelet donation are very similar to those for whole blood donation. One additional requirement for platelet donation is you need to be aspirin-free for 48 hours prior to your donation. This is because aspirin reduces the potency and performance of your platelets. 

Learn more about platelet donation ›

Autologous blood donation

Autologous blood donation requires a doctor’s order and is done by appointment only at the Orange Blood Donor Center. This type of donation is not done at the Irvine Campus Blood Donor Center.

Autologous blood is blood you donate for yourself for your upcoming surgery. This blood carries the lowest risk of transfusion complications because there is no risk of hepatitis, HIV or other viral infections. There is no risk of forming new red cell antibodies.


There is risk of bacterial contamination as well as an increased chance that you will require a transfusion during your surgery or procedure. 

Learn more about autologous blood donation ›

Directed donations

Patients who may need a transfusion can ask a friend or relative to donate specifically for them. These donors are called directed donors.

Directed donations require a doctor’s order and is done by appointment only at the Orange Blood Donor Center. This type of donation is not done at the Irvine Campus Blood Donor Center.


Their donation is reserved for the intended patient, provided it is “compatible.” If the directed donor is not compatible, and therefore not safe for the patient, the directed donation will be made available for another patient. In this way, directed donations also help ensure that there is an adequate blood supply for all our patients. 

Learn more about directed donations ›

Therapeutic phlebotomy

Therapeutic phlebotomy requires a UCI Health doctor’s order and is done by appointment only at the Orange Blood Donor Center. This type of donation is not done at the Irvine Campus Blood Donor Center.

A therapeutic phlebotomy is a blood draw procedure prescribed by a physician as part of a treatment of various medical conditions. Common examples of such conditions are hemochromatosis, porphyries and polycythemia.


Please use the information on this site as a general guide; an evaluation by a medical professional is the only way to determine eligibility. Before you donate:

  • Do not skip meals
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids (water/juices)
  • Bring photo identification

Donors must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age, or 18 for platelet donations.
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be free of cold and flu symptoms (allergies are okay, as are most medications)
  • Eat before donating and drink plenty of fluids
  • Bring photo ID
  • No tattoos or piercings in the last 12 months (Exceptions: Tattoo must be given in a state-licensed facility with sterile equipment at least three months before donation. Tattoo must also be completely healed with no scabbing. Ear piercing with a sterile piercing gun is allowable.)
  • Fill out a medical history questionnaire, which will be provided at the time of your donation, and discuss answers confidentially with a medical historian. Preview the questions you will be asked (PDF) ›

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in an attempt to ensure a safe blood supply, have imposed strict controls on who may donate. Some people are very disappointed to find that they are not eligible to give blood. There are several reasons for, and even different types of deferrals. Depending upon the reason, a deferral may be either temporary or permanent.

Please read below for more information about some of the common reasons for deferral:


During the Medical History part of your donation process, the Historian will take a small blood sample from your finger to test your hemoglobin, or red blood cell level. If your hemoglobin is too low, you will not be able to donate blood that day. There are certain foods as well as iron supplements that can increase your hemoglobin. Learn more about hemoglobin and how to raise it ›


Certain medications that are perfectly safe for you to take could be harmful if transfused into another person. Please refer to the medication deferral list for a list of medications that may affect your eligibility as a blood donor. The deferral periods for these medications vary; your medical historian will discuss your eligibility status.

MSM Risk 12-Month Deferral

The FDA requires all blood centers to question donors about activities that are associated with an increased risk of exposure to infectious agents. According to statistics from the public health service, men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to represent a population at increased risk of acquiring HIV infection. Men may donate 12 months after last sexual contact with another man. Women may donate 12 months after last sexual contact with a man who had sexual contact with another man. View more information about deferrals ›

Travel-related Deferrals

Travel to a malarial region (one-year temporary deferral): Because of the risk of Malaria, donors who have traveled to certain countries may be deferred from donating blood for one year. If you have traveled to India, you must wait one year from your return to donate. Certain parts of Mexico, China, Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines are considered "limited risk areas." For the most current information available, see the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Malaria Risk Map. (Malaria risk changes over time with rainfall patterns or successes in malaria control efforts, and updates to the CDC's Malaria risk map are being made constantly.)

Residence in a Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease region (lifetime deferral): Because of the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) (also known as Mad-Cow Disease) and other blood-related illnesses, some donors may be deferred for one year or permanently because of their travel history. Individuals who have spent three cumulative months or more in the U.K. between 1980 and 1996 are indefinitely deferred. Also, individuals who spent five years or more since 1980 in some European countries became ineligible as well. View the countries of risk ›

Ineligible donors

The following individuals are ineligible to donate blood for transfusion to others:

  • Individuals who spent a total of three months or more in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996.
  • Individuals who were in the U.S. military, dependents of U.S. military, or civilian military and were stationed in certain European countries for 6 months or more between 1980-1996. (This is because some U.S. military bases in Europe obtained their meat from the United Kingdom. Please contact us to discuss where you were stationed.)
  • Individuals who lived in France for five years or more since 1980.
  • Individuals who received a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom or France since 1980.
  • Individuals who spent five years or more since 1980 in some other European countries (please contact our staff to discuss your situation).

Host a Blood Drive

UCI Health transfuses an average of 1,000 units of blood to our patients each month. Blood Drives are an important part of insuring we are able to meet the transfusion needs of our patients. Blood drives can be scheduled at local schools, businesses, places of worship and community events. Blood drives ensure that we have enough blood for all of our patients and help us save hundreds of lives every year. There is no substitute for human blood.

Why host a blood drive?

Every three seconds, someone needs blood. Yet, less than 4 percent of Orange County's population donates blood.

The blood we collect at blood drives stays here in your community, serving your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

Hosting a blood drive at UCI Health is a partnership that benefits everyone involved:

  • Your organization earns goodwill from the community
  • Donors feel good about giving back
  • Patients who need blood are able to get it
  • UCI Health is able to ensure it has a reliable and safe supply a blood

What you get

When you sign up to host a blood drive through UCI Health, we make the process simple for you:
  • Our coordinators work with you every step of the way and make this a positive experience for everyone
  • All drives are held on our bloodmobile, which eliminates the need to find space in your facility
  • Our bloodmobile has it all: an interview area, private history rooms and comfortable beds
  • We provide marketing materials to help you promote your blood drive
  • We provide an online link for potential donors to make their own appointments
  • All donors receive a T-shirt or a certificate for a pint of Baskin-Robbins ice cream as a token of appreciation.


To get started, register to host your blood drive ›

Any questions? Call 949-824-2662 or email tbarrett@uci.edu.

Our staff is committed to being sensitive to the needs of all potential blood donors.

We believe that every potential blood donor should be treated with fairness, equality and respect. Our top priority is the safety of both our volunteer blood donors and our patients into whom blood products are transfused.

Blood products represent a potential risk for transmission of blood-borne pathogens. The safety of the blood supply relies on accurate donor histories and medically supported donor deferral criteria.

To donate blood for transfusion, prospective blood donors must meet FDA-mandated donor eligibility criteria. These established eligibility criteria must be followed by all U.S. blood collection centers during the donor screening process.

Learn more about screening and eligibility criteria ›

Make an Appointment





Why Donate Blood?

angie tran bloom's identical triplet daughters

After delivering identical triplet girls, Angie Tran-Bloom began to hemorrhage. Blood from dozens of donors saved her life ›

Host a Blood Drive

Help UCI Health save lives while giving back to your community by hosting a blood drive. Learn what it takes and register today.