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Blood Donation Questions

What you need to know about donating blood and blood products at Marsh


What are the most common blood types?

O-positive is the most common blood type, and AB-negative is the least common type.

People with O-negative blood are called universal donors because they can safely donate for any other person. Those with AB-positive blood are called universal recipients because they can safely receive blood from any other person.

The chart below provides general information about the percentages of blood types and the compatibility of different blood types.

Blood Type Percent of Population Who Can Receive this Type
O+ 37.4% O+, A+, B+, AB+
O- 6.6% All Blood Types
A+ 35.8% A+, AB+
A- 6.3% A+, A-, AB+, AB-
B+ 8.5% B+, AB+
B- 1.5% B+, B-, AB+, AB-
AB+ 3.4% AB+
AB- 0.6% AB+, AB-

Who can give blood? What are the requirements?

Volunteer donors provide virtually all of the country’s supply of blood for transfusions.

To give blood, you must be:

  • At least 17 years of age
  • In good general health
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Meet a few other basic requirements

If you are healthy and eligible, we strongly encourage you to donate. This will help ensure blood supplies are always available when patients need them.

How often can I donate blood?

Most people can safely give blood every eight weeks – or every 56 days – as many as five or six times per year.

Donors who give blood at least four times annually are eligible to participate in Marsh Regional’s Donors4Life program.

Can I get any diseases from giving or receiving blood?

No. Only sterile, disposable, single-use needles and supplies are used.

Also, every single pint of blood donated to Marsh Regional is tested thoroughly before being given to any patient.

How long does it take to give blood at Marsh?

The entire process of donating blood – from the health questionnaire and physical to the actual donation and refreshments – typically takes less than an hour at Marsh Regional.

The needle stick itself just lasts a second, and drawing your blood only takes eight to ten minutes, on average.

Where and when can I give blood?

Marsh Regional offers three collection centers – Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport.

Visit the blood center pages for locations and hours.

In addition to collecting blood at our centers, Marsh hosts daily mobile blood drives throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, making it convenient for you to give blood.

Do I need an appointment to donate?

No. Marsh Regional welcomes walk-in donors during normal operating hours.

However, you are welcome to make an appointment ahead of time. Let us know when you plan to visit by calling any Marsh Regional collection center.

Can my business, school or church host a blood drive?

Yes, your group can have a dramatic impact on saving lives by hosting a drive at your location.

Marsh Regional provides two options for on-site blood drives:

Bloodmobiles for On-Site Drives

Marsh Regional has three four-bed bloodmobiles and a two-bed bloodmobile for on-site blood drives. Learn more about our bloodmobiles.

Breakdown Blood Drives for In-Facility Drives

We also offer the option of setting up a breakdown blood drive, working with you to identify a convenient location inside your facility with sufficient space and resources to set up our mobile equipment.

During a breakdown drive, donors don’t have to leave the comfort and convenience of your facility.

Learn More About Hosting a Drive

Please contact a mobile blood drive recruiter at 423-408-7500 to schedule a drive or learn how your organization can help.

Can I donate blood for myself?

The process of donating blood for yourself is called an autologous blood donation.

During this procedure, you will provide your own blood for an upcoming occasion where you may need a blood transfusion, such as surgery. Your blood can be collected during the days and weeks prior to surgery, stored then returned to you during or following surgery to replace blood you have lost.

Your physician will make the necessary arrangements after which you should make an appointment with Marsh Regional.

What is apheresis?

Apheresis is a type of donation in which the donor only gives a certain blood component, such as platelets.

Platelets prevent bleeding and cause blood to clot. They’re needed by patients who experience trauma, bleeding during surgery or receive treatment for cancer.

It takes up to 10 normal blood donations to equal the platelets from one apheresis donation. That’s what makes these donors so special.

Find out more how you can donate platelets.

What is the National Marrow Donor Program?

Marsh Regional’s Kingsport collection center serves as a registration site for the National Marrow Donor Program.

Learn more about the bone marrow program.

Can teens donate blood?

Yes, but not all teenagers are eligible to donate. At Marsh Regional, you must be at least 17 years old to donate blood.

Please be aware that if you aren’t yet 18, you will need a parent’s permission.

Why should I give blood?

Though many medical advances occur every day, there is still no substitute for one of the most important substances in the human body – blood.

Blood components are used every day to save people of every age, including premature babies, oncology patients, trauma victims, surgery patients and others in critical need.

How much blood will I give during a donation?

When you donate whole blood, you give roughly one pint – or 500 mL – of blood. This donation can save up to three lives and takes less than one hour.

What should I do after I giving blood?

After you donate blood, you should stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

It usually takes about two days for the body to replace the lost plasma – or liquid part of your blood – and 56 days to replace the red blood cells, after which you will be eligible to donate blood again.

What is Marsh Regional?

Marsh Regional Blood Center is a not-for-profit, full-service blood- and blood-component donation center serving 16 health care facilities and 4 cancer centers throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Since 1947, Marsh Regional has served the region with a mission to collect and maintain blood supplies to meet local needs. The blood donated at Marsh is used here for those who need it in our region.


Blood Donation Questions Locations

111 West Stone Drive
Suite 300
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 408-7500
1996 W State Street
Bristol, TN 37620
(423) 652-0014
2428 Knob Creek Road
Johnson City, TN 37604
(423) 282-7090