Press room

Prospective donors must:

  • Be older than 16 and younger than 65.
  • Weigh at least 50kg.
  • Be in good general health.
  • Lead a sexually safe lifestyle.
  • Be committed to helping others.

Whether you’re AB+ or O-, we need your blood.

  1. Blood saves lives.
    Every unit of blood donated can be separated into its constituent parts and used to enhance the lives of up to four recipients.
  2. There’s no substitute.
    Unfortunately, there is no known substitute for blood and it cannot be replicated due to its complexity. Only real blood will do.
  3. Blood is in short supply.
    Because the need for blood is so unpredictable, we’re always one day away from running out. While 75% of our population are potential recipients, less than 1.2% are donors, and only approximately 16,000 donors give blood more than four times a year.
  4. It's a good cause.
    Giving doesn’t get much better than this.
  5. You could be next.
    It's not a nice thing to consider, but the fact is that you, a close friend, or a family member could well be the next car accident victim or surgery candidate requiring a transfusion. Wouldn’t it be good to know that our stock levels are adequate?
  6. The process is safe and quick.
    We use sterile, disposable equipment, so there’s no risk of infection. The entire process takes just 20 minutes, after which you can resume your daily activities. And finally, you won’t even miss the one unit (475 ml) of blood donated. It is quickly replaced by your body.

Become a donor

We provide all the information you need to become a donor – who can donatewhat to expectwhere to go and how to get started. So go on, join our donor community.

  • Although 75% of the population in the Western Cape may require blood transfusions in their lifetime, a mere 1.5% are blood donors.
  • With a single donation you could save up to three lives.
  • Even tourists can donate blood, provided they meet our donor health criteria and haven’t visited a malaria area in the past month.
  • You can still donate blood if you’re over 65, as long as you’re healthy and we have your physician’s consent.
  • You need to weight at least 50kg to be eligible to become a blood donor.
  • Our donors complete a health and lifestyle questionnaire each time they give blood, so that we can maintain a safe blood supply.
  • You should always increase your intake of non-alcoholic fluids when giving blood, both before and afterwards.
  • You get a mini-medical each time you donate blood – we check your iron levels, blood pressure and pulse rate.
  • The amount of blood drawn during donation is just 475ml – not even half a litre!
  • You should avoid heavy exercise or lifting on the day of donation, and reduce regular exercise for a few days after.
  • After donation, your body replaces the plasma within 24 hours, and the red blood cells within three to four days.
  • You won’t be able to donate blood if you have any infection – even a cold.
  • South Africa is the only African country that tests every donation with specialised NAT testing, which shortens the HIV window period. 
  • The average adult carries between four and five litres of blood – that’s about ten units.
  • There is no known substitute for blood, and it cannot be replicated due to its complexity. 
  • Not all blood types are compatible. The most common blood type in South Africa is O+, and the rarest is AB-. 
  • Individuals with O+ and O- blood are known as "universal donors", as their blood can be given to any other ABO group.
  • Individuals with AB+ blood are known as "universal recipients", as they are able to receive any other ABO blood type.
  • All registered blood donors receive a Donor Card stipulating their blood type.
  • Each year, the Western Cape Blood Service collects more than 165 000 units of blood.
  • New and sterile equipment is used for each donation and is destroyed after use.
  • For the safety of recipients, every single donation is tested for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C.
  • All our safety protocols comply with recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • You will not be able to donate blood unless you have eaten a substantial meal three to four hours before donation.
  • The waiting period between whole blood donations is 56 days, which means that you can give blood every two months.
  • The entire donation process takes only 20 to 30 minutes, questionnaire and pre-examination included.
  • You are never left alone while donating blood – a nurse is always within earshot and able to see you.  
  • Although a few people feel light-headed after donating blood, most donors suffer no side-effects at all.
  • You can continue your normal activities straight after donating blood, although you should avoid heavy exercise or lifting.
  • If our safety tests show abnormalities in your blood, we will contact you with confidential results.