Donating blood: what you should know

Where can I donate blood? Who can donate and who shouldn't? And what exactly can you expect from a blood donation. Our special provides answers to important questions about blood donation

Blood donation: Approximately 500 milliliters (0.5 L) of blood will be taken

© Fotolia / Wavebreak Media Micro

The blood donation barometer

Around 15,000 whole blood donations are required across Germany every day. According to the German Red Cross (DRK), 80 percent of people in Germany need a blood donation once in their life. The blood groups that are used the most are also those that occur most frequently in the population: these are the blood groups A rhesus positive with 37 percent and zero rhesus positive with 35 percent. Donors with blood group zero and the rhesus factor negative have a special position: They are considered universal donors because their blood is compatible with the other blood groups and can therefore be used for all transfusions in emergencies. In principle, donations of all blood groups are necessary, as there are fewer donors from the rare groups.

Some federal states show which blood groups are urgently needed and where in so-called blood donation barometers. Which blood is currently needed in the federal states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein can be found at the German Red Cross (DRK) Blood Donation Service Northeast. The DRK barometers for Baden-Württemberg and Hesse can be found here.

The blood group distribution in Germany

© Blood donation service of the Bavarian Red Cross gGmbH

Where can I donate blood?

The blood supply in Germany is mainly organized by the German Red Cross (DRK). It covers around 70 percent of the need for blood donations. The six regional blood donation services of the DRK organize blood donation appointments and produce blood preparations for hospitals and medical practices in their region. Interested parties can find out more about the next appointment nearby:

  • via the "DRK blood donation" smartphone app
  • online on the DRK website
  • under the nationwide number 0800/11 949 11 (free of charge from the German landline network)
  • the dates are also often announced in the local press

The remaining 20 percent of the blood supply in Germany is provided by the state-municipal and university blood donation services (StKB). The more than 100 facilities of the StKB are locally and organizationally integrated into public hospitals. Donation centers and dates for these institutions can be found on the StKB website.

Finally, there are the independent, private blood donation services. The largest among them - a pharmaceutical company - has 35 blood donation centers in Germany.