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The five Ds that keep the U.S. blood supply safe

The blood supply in the United States is among the safest in the world, thanks to a five-part system from the Food and Drug Administration that all U.S. organizations that collect blood have to follow.

We call them the “Five Ds.”

Donor screening

We don’t ask all those questions before you donate blood and platelets because we’re nosy. It’s to save yourself a trip and time, as the questionnaire keeps more than 90% of people from donating due to health conditions, medication and travel. You also have to wait a certain amount of time between donations, and a lot can happen in that time.

Donor testing

The little tubes we collect when you’re about to donate are sent to our sister organization, QualTex Laboratories, to be tested for infections. If a test comes back positive, you will receive a letter from us about your results. See a video about the testing process here.

Deferral list

Like every other organization that collects blood, we have to keep a list of folks who have been deferred or are not able to give. Fortunately, some of you may be eligible to donate again due to recent changes in some FDA guidelines. If you have questions regarding eligibility, please email us at

Don’t use it yet

The technical term is “quarantine.” Your blood donation is held until all testing is completed. Only then is it delivered to patients in need.

Deficiencies and problems

If we find any problems with the way we process your donation, we will notify the FDA to investigate and correct any issues. We have multiple procedures in place to both avoid and investigate issues.

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