According to the American Red Cross, 3 percent of Americans donate blood on a regular basis 3. Blood donation is voluntary, and there is no financial reimbursement. Donors are heavily screened with a variety of questions. They must be over the age of 18 and weigh more than 110 pounds. Blood is stored at regional blood banks, and supplies vary depending on need. There are pros and cons to being a blood donor.

Pro: Helping Others

Blood donation is strictly voluntary, and it is something almost all adults can participate in. Blood is distributed to those greatly in need after medical procedures or severe loss of blood. Your donation could save a life.

Con: Pain

The site of the needle's insertion may be painful. Though some people find a needle poke to be simply unpleasant, other have great fears of needles. Seeing one’s own blood pumped into a bag may also be disagreeable to some.

Pro: Blood is Renewable

Blood renews itself in the body, so the blood donated is not missed by the body. A person can donate blood every 56 days. Donation time is approximately 45 minutes.

Con: Weakness

After donating a pint of blood, a person may feel faint or dizzy, and these symptoms are common. However, some people may find them very unpleasant. The feeling diminishes quickly as the body makes more blood. Most donation centers have juice and snacks available to quickly boost energy levels.

Pro: Free Gifts

Some donation centers give away free gifts for donating during special blood drives. Freebies include coupons for ice cream to free T-shirts.

Con: Increased Paperwork

Some parents make donations of blood prior to a child having surgery, to avoid the child receiving anonymous blood if blood is required. Both anonymous blood and direct donor blood are screened using the same process, and one is not identified as being safer than the other. However, the amount of paperwork required to make a direct donation is greater than using anonymous blood. A person may have to travel greater distance and pay extra money to have the blood transported.