Blood Donation Frequently Asked Questions

Why Give Blood?

  • It is truly the life blood of the health system. A reliable blood supply is needed for just about every area of health care.
  • Trinidad and Tobago needs more voluntary blood donors to ensure that we have enough supply when we need it.
  • Blood and blood products are a unique and precious national resource. They can only be sourced from individuals who donate blood.

Why donate blood via the truly voluntary approach?

  • We need more blood -Family/replacement donors don’t meet Trinidad and Tobago’s overall need for blood and blood products because they provide blood only for individual patients when needed.
  • You save lives – We understand when we give blood we share life
  • Safer Blood - Blood which is donated voluntarily is usually safer.
  • Regular supply - Persons who give blood voluntarily usually donate blood more regularly than other types of donors.

What is True Voluntary Blood Donation?

  • Giving blood to the national blood bank expecting nothing in return
  • With True Voluntary Blood Donation:
    • We understand that when we give blood, we share life.
    • We share life freely and often (at least two times per year, every year).
    • We share life and receive the good feeling that comes with it.
    • We share life and expect nothing in return, no money, no chit and no extra time off, except when you need to give blood and share life.

How could I Donate Voluntarily?

  • Blood can be donated by anyone meeting the health criteria for donating blood.
  • Visit any of our Blood Bank Locations.
  • Fill out a registration form and an interview will be conducted.
  • For your own safety, you will be asked for information: your medical history and a mini-medical examination will be done.
  • If you are selected to make a donation, your blood will be tested for certain infections before use, including HIV, Viral Hepatitis B and C, HTLVI, Syphilis and Chagas Disease.
  • You will be notified in the event of a positive result for any of these tests. Your blood is also tested for haemoglobin concentration.
  • A nurse (trained Phlebotomist) will draw your blood. There is a 15-minute mandatory rest period after giving blood before you are allowed to leave the centre.

How will I get Blood if I, or a loved one needs?

  • Blood that is donated voluntarily will be placed in the national pool to be utilized.
  • Blood will be utilized from the national pool based on needs.

What are the Requirements for Donating Blood?

Age

The minimum age limit for donating blood is 17 years, with consent. Click Here to download the Consent Form. There is no upper age limit for donating blood. The screening procedure at the Blood Bank will determine your eligibility to donate blood.

Weight

We advise that presently persons be at least 50 kg (110 pounds). However, if you weigh less, but are otherwise suitable, a smaller volume of blood may be collected from you.

Gender

Females should not donate more than three (3) times over a twelve (12) month period.

Males should not donate more than four (4) times over a twelve (12) month period.

Information for Female donors

You may donate blood during your menstrual period if you are willing, feel well enough and meet all requirements.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

You should not donate blood if you are pregnant, for six (6) weeks after pregnancy or if breastfeeding. This is to ensure that your iron stores are adequate for you and your foetus or baby.

Dental procedures

You may donate seventy-two (72) hours after a dental procedure (e.g. cleaning, filling, extraction, dental surgery or root canal), if you do not have a fever and feel well.

Vaccines/Immunizations

If you have been recently vaccinated less than two weeks ago, you should wait before donating blood.

Allergies

No deferral once you are free of symptoms.

Skin Lesions

No deferral if skin at site of venipuncture is free of open or active infection.

Body Piercing and Tattoos

Individuals who have body piercings or tattoos will be deferred for three (3) months after the procedure.

Sexual Behaviors

Prospective donors who have had male-to-male sexual intercourse are deferred for three (3) months after their last intimate encounter.

Hepatitis  

Persons with a history of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, Human T Lymphotropic Virus 1 (HTLV-1), etc, or confirmed positive blood tests for Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, are permanently deferred from donating blood.

HIV

Persons with a diagnosis of HIV infection are permanently debarred from donating blood.

Malaria

Persons are eligible to donate three (3) months after departing a malaria-endemic area, if free of unexplained symptoms since departure.

Individuals coming from or who have lived at least five (5) consecutive years in a country where malaria is considered to be endemic will receive a three (3) year deferral after departure from a malaria-endemic country.

Chagas’ Disease

Persons travelling to South and Central America are not allowed to donate blood until three (3) months after returning.

Medical Conditions/ on Prescriptions

If you have other medical conditions please seek your physician's advice prior to giving blood.

Important Definitions

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus - a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency (syndrome)

Chagas’ – a disease that affects the heart and is spread by a parasite and bugs in parts of South and Central America

Syphilis – a sexually transmitted disease that could attack the nervous system, heart and other vital organs.

HBV – Hepatitis B Virus – a virus that could attack the liver

HCV – Hepatitis C Virus – another virus that could attack the liver

HTLV I – Human T Lymphotropic Virus I – a virus that causes disease of the white blood cells, skin or nervous system.

Haemophilia – an inherited bleeding disorder caused by clotting protein deficiency

Strenuous Activities - work that involves heavy lifting, climbing, flying (relevant to pilots and airline crew), or intense exercise. This advice is given to avoid the unlikely occurrence of post donation fainting.

Contact Information for Blood Donation Centres

Port of Spain – NWRHA
Phone: 397-7328
Address: #2 Queen's Park East, Port of Spain.
BloodBankPOS@nwrha.gov.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 2:30pm
Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

San Fernando – SWRHA
Phone: 653-8283
Address: Ground Floor, San Fernando General Hospital, Independence Avenue, San Fernando
BloodBankSF@swrha.co.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 2:30pm
Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

EWMSC – NCRHA
Phone:  225 HOPE (4673) EXT 2008/2059/2231
bloodbank@ncrha.co.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday, 7:00am to 3:00pm

Arima General Hospital – NCRHA
Phone: 612 2454  Ext. 2011/2036
Address: Queen Mary Avenue, Arima
bloodbank.agh@ncrha.co.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 2:30pm

Point Fortin – SWRHA
Phone: 225-4325 Ext 4878/4879
Address: Level Two, Point Fortin Hospital, Corner Point Fortin & Techier Main Roads, Point Fortin
pfhbloodbank@swrha.co.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 2:30pm
Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Sangre Grande – ERHA
Phone: 668 – 2273/ 226 – 9779
Address:  Katwaroo Trace Entrance of the Sangre Grande Hospital
BloodBankSGH@erha.co.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 2:30pm
Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Tobago – TRHA
Phone: 639 – 2551, 660 – 4744 Ext. 3099
Address: Scarborough General Hospital Laboratory, Signal Hill, Tobago
BloodBank.SGH.TRHA@gov.tt
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

HEAD OFFICE

Ministry of Health
4-6 Queen's Park East
Port-of-Spain 101002
Trinidad and Tobago

+1 (868)-217-4MOH (4664)

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