Steps and Requirements for Donating Blood in Guatemala

16 minutos de lectura

The decision of donate blood can save a life, or even several, if the blood it is separated into components – red blood cells, platelets and plasma -, which can be used individually for patients with specific diseases.

Health societies seek to encourage more and more donating blood, it would entail many benefits for general medicine, if donations are used correctly, they could influence anti-gravity treatments.

If you want to give your grain of sand or in this case your drop of blood, we will guide you in what you should know, about the Requirements to donate blood:

Requirements to donate Blood

  • Feel good of health: Diabetics and people with blood pressure problems treated with medicine can do it. If you have the flu, you have to wait at least 15 days, dengue, a month; Zika, eight months.
  • Be between 18 and 55 years old: the person is required to be of legal age because it is a responsible and voluntary act. Those who are over the age limit can donate, after being evaluated and verifying that they are in perfect health.
  • You must weigh more than 110 pounds.
  • Not having donated blood in at least 3 months: men can donate 5 times a year, maximum. Women can donate 4 times a year, maximum. This is because iron stores decrease with menstruation.
  • Not having had recent surgeries (6 months).
  • Your tattoos and piercings must be at least one year old to rule out blood infections.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages in the last 24 hours.
  • No smoking in the last 6 hours.
  • Not taking an antibiotic or medicine prescribed by a doctor: Taking an antibiotic indicates the presence of an infectious process. The responsible physician in relation to the bioavailability of the drug will indicate the time that must elapse.
  • Present your personal identification document.

Procedure for donating blood

Many have a bad idea about donating blood, they think that the experience can be painful or susceptible to disastrous consequences, but it is a very controlled procedure and only takes a few minutes.

  • Information: The donor reads a generic information about the donation.
  • Medical Interview: Before making each donation, the health personnel interview the donors, take their blood pressure and perform the hemoglobin test (a non-invasive test that allows to know the iron levels, thus preventing people with anemia from donating).
    The purpose of this recognition is to identify and rule out people whose donation may pose a risk to their health or to the health of the recipient of the transfusion.
    For this reason, only those people who, after the recognition described, show a good state of health will be accepted as donors.
  • Compliance with the Medical Questionnaire: This questionnaire aims to protect both the health of the donor and the recipient, so it is very important to fill it out seriously and rigorously. All information is confidential.
  • Extraction (with sterile and single-use materials): 450 ml are collected. (safe amount that can be removed from a person weighing 50 kg.) in a closed system of quadruple bags containing anticoagulant fluid and preservatives. During the extraction, the bag remains on a scale whose mission is to shake the blood to mix it with the anticoagulant liquid and control the volume of the extraction.

The questions that the doctor or nurse conducting the interview will ask you, as well as the physical examination to which you will be subjected (blood pressure, pulse, hemoglobin) are intended to rule out any problem for which the donation you are going to make may be harmful to yourself or to the people who will receive the products obtained from your donation.

In the event that any of these problems is detected, the doctor, the nurse, may not authorize you at this time to make the donation.

Before donating blood

Not fasting.

It is recommended to ingest around 500 ml. of liquid before donating, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day (juices, mate, tea, coffee), be rested, wear comfortable clothes, show up with ID

You will be attended by a professional team and you will receive pre-donation information.

You will have an interview with trained staff who will determine if you can donate blood. All information that the donor provides is confidential. If you are eligible to donate, proceed to the withdrawal stage.

One of the most competent organizations in Guatemala to donate blood is the Red Cross.

The National Society of the Guatemalan Red Cross (CRG) is a non-profit, social and voluntary institution that provides aid to the population that is at risk or in disaster. It is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, whose aim is to prevent and alleviate human suffering; protect the life and health of the human person, particularly in times of armed conflict and other emergency situations.

The Guatemalan Red Cross is recognized before the Legal Status by the Government of the Republic of Guatemala.

It is a voluntary, autonomous, independent relief society, with its own patrimony and auxiliary to the public powers in their humanitarian activities.

Founded on April 22, 1923; It is constituted in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols of 1977, of which the State of Guatemala is a party, as well as with the Fundamental Principles of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

The Guatemalan Red Cross was recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on August 15, 1923, it is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) from the same date . The Guatemalan Red Cross is duly registered in the Civil Registry of Guatemala, under item number seventy-six (76), page four hundred and ninety (490) of book forty-two (42) of Legal Persons.

The facilities of the Central Headquarters of the Guatemalan Red Cross are located in Guatemala City and currently have 21 delegations nationwide.

During blood donation

The extraction will be carried out by technical personnel following strict standards of safety, quality, hygiene and comfort. After donating you will receive a snack and post-donation counseling. This process takes 30 ‘to 40’ in total.

The actual extraction lasts between 7 ‘and 10’. Drawing blood is not painful. Discomfort may be felt at the time of the puncture, similar to that of a blood test.

It is recommended to be calm and as relaxed as possible. If you feel any discomfort or discomfort during the donation or later, it is necessary to notify the medical personnel who are there to assist you.

After donating blood

After donation, it is necessary to remain at rest for about 10-15 minutes.

You should drink plenty of fluids and avoid smoking and alcohol for two hours after donating.

You should avoid hot environments or strenuous sports or activities for at least the next day

After donation, most donors are fine, however you need to know some of the Adverse effects that can occur during or after donation.

  1. Dizziness or vasovagal reaction.

    It is a rare problem, easy to recover, it is more frequent in the 1st donation. It is accompanied by a drop in blood pressure, and is prevented by drinking plenty of fluids before donation.

  2. Puncture site problems.

    During the donation we can find problems at the puncture site that lead to the formation of a hematoma. This problem may be due to the channeling of a vein that is too fine. When this happens, we cannot continue the donation. The nurse will recommend the appropriate measures for the care of the affected area. It is important not to carry weight and to maintain a compression bandage for 24 hours, to avoid the extension of the hematoma, which in some cases can be severe.

  3. Nerve injury

    It is a very rare side effect that occurs if a nerve root adjacent to the puncture site is accidentally punctured. In these cases the donor usually refers numbness of the hand, which resolves quickly and spontaneously.
    In the event that after the donation, you present any complication or illness or remember any relevant information not declared during the interview, it is very important that you inform us about it in order to assess whether the products obtained are unsuitable for transfusion.

What is done with the Blood that is donated?

Blood is processed within 24 hours of donation, as follows:

  1. Division:

    It consists of the separation of blood into its three fundamental components; packed red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

  2. Red blood cell concentrates:

    They carry oxygen. They are used to treat acute anemia secondary to blood loss after surgery or trauma, and chronic anemia. It is stored at 4ºC for up to 42 days.

  3. Plasma: It is the liquid part of the blood and contains clotting factors. It is used to correct bleeding problems due to coagulation defects. It is also used by the pharmaceutical industry to make vaccines and some medicines. It is stored up to 2 years frozen.
  4. Platelets:

    They are small cell corpuscles that initiate the clotting process. They are used mostly in cancer patients and organ transplants. It is stored at 22 degrees for 7 days.

  5. Analysis:

    As the blood is divided, tests are performed to identify the blood group, Rh, and detect infectious diseases. HIV, HBV, HCV, Syphilis.



The Centers have the obligation to inform you in the event that any of the analysis of your donation reveals any important anomaly for your health.

The detection of a positive result in any of the diseases transmitted by blood will mean the exclusion as a donor and the destruction of the products obtained from your donation.

Benefits of donating blood

  1. Donating blood reduces the risk of cardiorespiratory arrest.
  2. You are less likely to have a stroke.
  3. Lowers cholesterol level by purifying triglycerides.
  4. Improves blood flow.
  5. Saves lives: each donor can save four people. During the extraction, 450 cc – cubic centimeters – or half a liter of blood is obtained from each donor. Different blood components are extracted from each unit: packed cells, fresh frozen plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate. Each component can help a sick person.
  6. We do a medical check-up and an analysis every time you donate:You can only donate blood if you are healthy and free from any type of contagious disease. Before donating blood, you have to go through a simple recognition, a medical interview and a small determination of your hemoglobin levels. Then you receive at home an analysis of the determinations that we make to your donation. As for the side effects that may appear, they are quite infrequent, such as: dizziness or a hematoma in the puncture area, but nothing serious. Even so, if the person meets certain parameters and those conditions are ensured, there will be no negative effect on health.
  7. Increase your empathy.Various scientific studies show that the act of donating activates oxytocin, the pleasure hormone, therefore our reward mechanism is activated. promotes solidarity, we increase both our own empathy and those of others.As you know, empathy is putting yourself in the place of the other person, so if we have decided to be a donor, it is because we are totally committed to that cause, that is, save lifes.In addition, by showing our satisfaction and being able to share it with those closest to us, we can make their generosity increase, and why not, they are encouraged to be donors.
  8. Strengthen bonds between known people.There are frequent circumstances in which, due to an unforeseen event, people from the same family become blood donors and recipients. If the health difficulty is overcome, it is proven that the people involved reestablish a better affective bond or strengthen the one they already had.

Where to go to donate blood in Guatemala?

  1. Red Cross – They have 5 or 6 days a month to be able to take the donations to the blood banks in Guatemala, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. it is preferable that you arrive in the morning, since it is the time when the banks attend the fastest. In 3rd. 8-40 street, zone 1.
  2. Roosevelt Hospital – It has a blood bank that is supplied thanks to donors and donation days carried out by organizations such as the Guatemalan Red Cross.
    It can be donated for hospitalized relatives or patients who need it, it is always important to read all the requirements and call before making the visit so as not to conglomerate the donation room. Donors are received every day at the hospital’s Blood Bank, in zone 11.
  3. Private Bank, Dr. Carlos Moscoso – It is one of the most recognized within Guatemala City, they have quite long opening hours where you can get to donate. Go any day, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 5 a.m. street 7-53, zone 9.
  4. Esperanza University Hospital – It has a blood bank that you can reach. They are in charge of taking the donation to different places that need it, they suggest that you arrive in the morning, so the process can be carried out more easily. 6th. Avenue 7-49, Zone 10.
  5. IGSS Guatemala – The Guatemalan Social Security Institute also has blood banks, where you can donate, either for relatives or for people who need it within the hospital.
    It is important to take into account all the requirements that exist to carry out this act before arriving, since they will not attend you if you do not comply with all of them. 9A Calle, Guatemala.
  6. San Juan de Dios Hospital – This public hospital has a blood bank where you can donate, either for hospitalized relatives or to help with patients.
    If you want to donate, you must go directly to the blood bank located at the entrance on the 1st. avenue, to one side of external consultation. The earlier you donate the better, the service begins at 6:00 in the morning. 1st. Avenida 10-50 zone 1 Zone 1, Guatemala City.
  7. Guastatoya National Hospital – It is a site that needs a lot of help in terms of donating blood, all donations are welcome and will help save the lives of many patients.
    If you live near El Progreso or are visiting, remember that you can donate blood at this hospital. It is located in Barrio Minerva, Gustatoya, El Progreso.
  8. Zacapa Regional Hospital – holds voluntary donation days in universities in the country, these days try to make people aware of the importance of donating blood.
    In this hospital they also have a blood bank where people can donate. 17-18 Zone 3, Zacapa.
  9. Sayaxché Regional Hospital – It needs many blood donors, it has a blood bank so that all the volunteers come to help.
    They carry out days of donations supported by the Red Cross in order to collect blood that is later used with patients in serious condition who enter this hospital as patients. La Esperanza Neighborhood Zone 4, Sayaxché, Petén.
  10. Western Regional Hospital – It has a space where you can go to make your blood donation. They have very exact restrictions on the schedule, where you must arrive very early to be able to donate.
    The Quetzaltenango Red Cross also conducts donation days approximately every 3 months, at different strategic points to deliver the proceeds to hospitals in need. 0 street, 36-40 zone 8, Labor San Isidro, Quetzaltenango.
  11. Pedro de Bethancou National Hospitalrt – it has a blood bank to which you can donate. It has an opening hours from Monday to Friday from 7:00 in the morning, they suggest that you arrive as early as possible to make the donation.
    The only requirements that this hospital asks for is to show up on an empty stomach and present identification document. San Felipe de Jesús, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez.
  12. Regional Hospital ‘Hellen Lossi de Laugerud ‘ – It also has a blood bank where you can go to donate and thus collaborate with the well-being of patients.
    It has important requirements that must be taken into account before deciding to donate, such as not having suffered from cardiovascular disease. You should eat something light without fat and drink liquids an hour before the donation. 8a. street 1-24 zone 11, Cobán, Alta Verapaz.
  13. National Friendship Hospital Japan Guatemala – It has blood donation days, since it is very useful for the patients of this establishment. Remember that you must meet certain requirements to be able to donate, with this action you can save the lives of many people. End of Colonia San Manuel Street, Puerto Barrios, Izabal.

Who cannot donate blood?

People who cannot donate are those who suffer or have suffered cancer, hepatitis B, anemia, HIV, malaria, chagas disease.

People who know they lead an unhealthy lifestyle (whether using drugs, alcohol, etc.) should also abstain. Insulin-dependent people cannot be donors, neither those who had hepatitis after 12 years, nor pregnant or lactating women.

Does donating blood have any cost?

Enabling a unit of blood in a bank, which includes (reagents, collection bags, syringes,) can cost between Q1000 or Q1200. One of the 2020 goals of the World Health Organization is that blood donation around the world is free.

«A sufficient supply of uncontaminated blood can only be ensured by regular donation by unpaid volunteers.» Regular, voluntary and unpaid donors are the safest group of donors, having the lowest prevalence of blood-borne infections, according to the WHO.

Blood is neither bought nor sold! is donated. Article 39 of Decree 87-97 states: The sale, purchase, export and all forms of commercialization of blood and derivatives are prohibited. In addition, in the Guatemalan blood bank law, the sale of blood and remuneration for donation is totally prohibited.

The Paid Donor is usually a person unknown to the patient’s family and friends, who profits from the sale of their blood, this individual usually lies in interviews and does not have acceptable social behavior, putting anyone who can use their blood at risk .

Every blood bank in Guatemala runs several serological tests to detect blood contaminated with different viruses transmitted by transfusion, but the fear of every institution is that there is a time known as the Window Period, which is a period of time in which the The amount of antibodies in the body of the infected person is not sufficient to create an alert that is perceptible by the equipment used to run tests.

This period can (depending on the virus sought) go from 15 days to 2 months, for this reason, in addition to antibodies, proteins that the body produces when detecting the presence of a virus are looked for. Due to the Window Period and the possibility of having positive tests (representing a waste of material, time and money), the paid donor should avoid at all costs.

This also leads us to a dilemma, many ask why you have to pay for the units of blood that a patient uses, no blood bank sells blood, that is not the case, blood banks They process blood components what the patient pays is not the liquid but the process, which is to receive the donor, select it, interview it, perform the phlebotomy, run the tests, that they are checked by a biologist chemist, the storage and distribution of the bio-safe units, with quality control and cold chain transport, this process is the service that one pays for, and this is what is given a value.

We hope that this information has answered your questions and encouraged in you the charitable action of donating blood and being able to help more people in need.

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