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This is sort of an account of what happened to me last night. Still, I've done this before so it's pretty much standard. /msg me if there's anything inaccurate or needs changing/adding.

  1. When you get in, you are asked to sit down, there are usually a few people ton go before you so I'd recommend going with a few friends.
  2. When it is your turn to start the process, you go up to the nurse sat behind the computer and s/he will ask you a couple of questions to confirm your identity. If you have a blood donor card, this will move you along faster. This is also the point at which you register if you've never been before. (I think you have to take some ID with you, but don't quote me on that). This is a good point to mention that when the nurse asks you what your name is, it is not a good idea to reply "I dunno, what do you want it to be?"
  3. If you haven't been before or haven't been for 2 years, then get the priviledge of going behind one of the screens with a nurse to answer a couple of questions. Mostly they consist of have you slept with a man (if you're a bloke) or slept with a man that has slept with another man (if you're a woman). Have you travelled outside of europe or north america in the last 12 months, suffered from certain diseases etc. You get the idea.
  4. If you have been recently, they just ask you a couple of other questions which amount have you read the leaflet and has anything vaguely dangerous happened since your last donation.
  5. For the next bit, you have to donate a little blood. They prick your thumb then squeeze a drop of blood out into a fluid to check if you have enough heamaglobin in you blood.
  6. Next your ready to give blood. They ask you which arm you'd like to donate from, you lie on the bed with your arm exposed and they take your blood pressure. Next they rub something (I'm assuming that it's some sort of antisceptic) then they wipe off the excess and insert the needle and tape it down. It doesn't hurt really, just pinches.
  7. For this bit you just lie back. If you have what I call 'slow blood' they might give you a sponge ball to squeeze repeatedly to stimulate the flow of blood somewhat.
  8. After you've given enough blood, they clamp off and cut the tube used to transport blood to the bag. While the needle is still in your arm, they let some blood flow into some sample test tubes for the testing they will carry out later. They then remove the tube and tell you to lie down on the bed for 5 minutes, 10 - 15 if it's your first time.
  9. When you get up, they offer you a nice cup of tea or orange juice and a biscuit and then kick you out
  10. The end.

It's worth pointing out that in the UK, donating blood is never paid as far as I know. (thanks Albert Herring)

A point of clarification. If you're donating blood in the US, you don't get paid. It's a donation, after all. It's possible to sell blood, but it's not a common practice, and finding a place that will pay you for it is probably not worth the hassle of the small amount they'll give you.

Donating blood in the US is nearly identical to what you've listed. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll get in as part of a blood drive, and maybe get some little benefit for it. Last time I donated, it was part of a KLOS blood drive (KLOS is a Los Angeles-based radio station), and I got a T-Shirt and a ticket to a KISS concert for it. I don't like going to concerts... I gave that to someone who does.

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