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Your frequently asked questions

Where can I give blood?

You can give blood in one of our donor centres, in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee. We also collect blood in communities across Scotland. To find out when we're in your area next, go to the homepage and search on your town or postcode.

How often can I give blood?

You must wait at least 12 weeks between blood donations. After a donation, most people's haemoglobin levels are back to normal after 12 weeks. We ask you to wait at least 12 weeks between donations to make sure we don't risk lowering your haemoglobin levels over the long term.

Do I need to book an appointment or can I just turn up?

All our sessions are run by appointment. Giving blood by appointment helps us help patients better. When you book an appointment we know we can rely on your blood type on that date, making it easier for us to regulate blood stocks. That way, we know there will always be enough for patients needs. You can book online or if you'd rather give us a call on 0345 90 90 999 to book in, we would love to hear from you

How do I cancel or reschedule an upcoming appointment?

You can do this at using your online donor account. Alternatively, call us on 0345 90 90 999, email us on, or complete the form on the 'Contact us' page.

How do I book a MAT (Malaria Antibody Test)?

You may know in advance that you need to be tested for malaria before you can give blood. If this is the case, please book a standard appointment as usual. Please let us know during your pre-donation assessment if you need a MAT. A small sample of your blood will be taken, and you won’t be able to give a donation that day. We will send you a letter with the results, and give you guidance on your eligibility and timelines for later donations.

How long does it take to give blood?

Giving blood takes about an hour, including time for a drink and biscuits.

Will people be there to help when I give blood?

Our team will be there to help you through every step of the process. You can ask our friendly team any question. Nurse Patsy Scouse, Edinburgh Donor Centre, says: 'Our team love working with donors and are here to help you in any way. No question is too silly, and chances are we've been asked it before.'

Is it painful to give blood?

It's not painful to give blood - in fact, many donors say they feel great afterwards. There are minor risks associated with giving blood (including possible bruising, or feeling faint or lightheaded), but our staff will advise you on how to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

How safe is it to give blood?

It's safe to give blood. All blood collection equipment is single use and sterile; only one blood bag is filled with your donation.

What will my blood be tested for?

All donations are tested for infection with hepatitis B (past and current), hepatitis C, hepatitis E, HIV, HTLV, and syphilis. We may also test for malaria or West Nile virus. Plasma donors will be tested for hepatitis A and Parvovirus B19 (Slapped Cheek syndrome). Some donations are also tested for sickle haemoglobin. This test may also pick up elevated HbA1c levels, which may be linked to diabetes.

Can men who have sex with men give blood?

Yes, men who have sex with men can give blood. We use a donor's individual experiences to determine whether that person is safe to donate at any given time. We ask every donor the same questions, regardless of age, sex or sexual orientation. Restrictions may still apply, but these apply to everyone equally. This makes the donation process fair for all donors.

If the blood I give can't be used, will I be told why?

You will be told if there is a positive result for any of your tests, and we will give you advice.

Do employers give time off for an employee to go and give blood?

We receive excellent support from workplaces across Scotland. Some workplaces allow time off for blood donation, and others organise sessions within their premises.

I want to set up a blood donor session for my colleagues. How do I do this?

The key to setting up workplace donation sessions is finding out who the right person is within your organisation. When new organisations approach us, we have information and processes in place to make the process as smooth as possible. See our 'Give blood at work' page for more information.

What's the atmosphere like when you give blood?

It's great. We take great pride in our donor sessions, our team love their jobs and each session is full of amazing blood donors - just like you.

What you can do before giving blood

Amazing stories

Read about the people your blood has helped.

Amazing stories

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Before and after giving blood

Advice for donors on staying well.

Quick guide

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Friday 24 May

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types