Mayo Clinic depends on blood donors. You can help meet the needs of people in health crises. Donated blood helps meet many medical needs — including saving the life of a premature baby, restoring the strength of a cancer patient and providing a critical transfusion to someone who has been in an accident. There is no substitute for human blood — all transfusions use blood from a donor.

Many people become regular donors as a way of giving back. Others make a one-time donation in honor of a loved one who was healed at Mayo Clinic. In whatever way you give, you'll have the gratitude of the people receiving your life-saving blood donation.

Ways you can help

You may choose to give whole blood donations, platelets, double red blood cells or plasma. Each type of donation has different purposes and requires a different time commitment from you.


Mayo Clinic tries to make it as convenient as possible for you to make life-saving blood donations at its campuses in Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota.

Frequently asked questions

Whole blood donation takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

The gift of life

The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program benefits from anyone who is willing to donate — once or on a regular basis.

The gift of life

The gift of life is in your heart and only you have the power to share it. Did you know a single blood donation can save up to three lives? And every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Blood donors help people of all ages, from accident victims to cancer patients to children with severe diseases. Because blood can only be stored for a limited time, there's a constant need for regular blood supply from healthy blood donors. Today more than ever, Mayo Clinic needs your help. You can donate at one of our two convenient Rochester, Minnesota, locations. Blood is the most precious gift that you can give. Please find it in your heart to share it.

What happens to donated blood

You sit down for an hour, donate a pint of blood. But then what?

"We're going to separate that into the various components of blood."

Justin D. Kreuter, M.D., is the director of the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program. He says blood donations enable much-needed patient care.

"Most likely, your blood would be used for a medical patient who's suffering a disease or it could be used for a patient that's having surgery."

Dr. Kreuter says donated blood is separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma, and each has different storage needs.

"We can keep the red blood cells for 42 days. For platelets, we can keep them for five days. For plasma, we can keep it for a full year."

And for these reasons having a supportive blood donor community is critical for patient care.

"Every time that you donate, that's going to be relieving suffering or enabling some medical-surgical cure to happen, and I think that's the thing we have to remember."

For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Ian Roth.

What happens to donated blood?

Donated blood is separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma and safely stored until it's needed for a medical procedure.