By Nadia Turner

In a previous article, featured in June, we unpacked some common deferrals regarding medications, surgery and why it is important to complete the donor questionnaire every time you donate. If you’ve missed that and you’d like to read more about this, please click here. Let’s unpack a few more questions.

We often hear “I don’t have enough blood” and “I have low blood”, rest assured, you have enough blood to spare. Your donation is approximately 475ml and the average adult has around 5 to 6 litres of blood. You should feel fine after donating as long as you meet the minimum weight requirement of 50kg. Your body will replace the blood volume with 24 hours, the bone marrow replaces red cells within 3 to 4 days and the iron lost is replaced within 6 to 8 weeks.

There is also a bit of confusion as to why some donors receives a text message from us saying their ferritin level is low, but when they tested their haemoglobin level at the blood donation clinic it seemed fine. Iron produce haemoglobin, the protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Ferritin is a protein that binds and stores iron in the body. While haemoglobin testing is performed at the blood donation clinic, it may not identify donors who have low iron stores, hence the introduction of ferritin testing. In March 2022 we started with donor ferritin testing and is performed on the donor’s 1st donation and every 4th donation thereafter. Donors whose ferritin levels fall outside of the acceptance criteria will receive a letter from us, as we will advise them to seek their physician’s advice and possibly wait for a period of time before donating again. For more information about iron and ferritin please click here.

Another question we often get asked is how can I find out what my blood group is. This is very easy: After your first donation we will send you a notification that you can now download WCBS app to find out what your blood group is. Already a donor? You can also use the app, keep track of how many units you’ve donate and lives you’ve saved. The app also includes other fun and useful elements, such as GPS coordinates and calendar reminders. Download the WCBS app for Android and iOS.

If you, or anyone you know, have any other questions, please send us a WhatsApp to 0605497244 or visit our FAQ page on our website.