State-of-the-Art Laboratory Testing

Donation is just the first stop for a bag of blood given by a LifeServer! The next stop donated blood makes after donation is to LifeServe Blood Center's state-of-the art laboratory. Every unit of blood collected is subject to fourteen different tests before it leaves our shelves.

Blood samples are subjected to the following confidential tests:

  • ABO grouping

  • Rh blood typing

  • Syphilis
  • Screening for irregular antibodies
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • HIV
  • HTLV testing
  • West Nile Virus
  • COVID-19 antibody testing

After testing, blood is separated into various component parts - red cells, plasma, and platelets - that can help save the lives of up to three different hospital patients. Collected, tested, and processed blood is then transported to one of our 120+ hospital partners across Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Should our hospital partners’ needs be completely met, we are often able to assist our partner blood centers across the country, especially in times of need such as severe weather or other disasters.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

LifeServe Blood Center is assisting in the fight against COVID-19 by helping to provide data about the spread of the virus. Donors can now opt in to COVID-19 antibody testing to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies and a titer level.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

    • When someone gets an infection, their body produces antibodies to fight the infection. The antibodies created are specific to what is causing the infection. When someone gets infected with the COVID-19 virus, the body will produce antibodies specific to it.

    • The titer value is just a measurement of the prevalence of antibodies in a person's system. The higher the number, the more antibodies a person has. We have seen a wide range of numbers from .001 all the way up to the lower 50's. The number depends on whether you had a COVID-19 infection, if you received the vaccine, and/or how your body reacted to either or both.

    • A titer level below 1.0 is considered a negative result.

    • LifeServe Blood Center’s antibody testing is being performed by the State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa. They are using two tests.  One test is the SARS-CoV-2 IgG Antibody, which is produced by Beckman Coulter, Inc. The other test is the SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 IgG Antibody, which is produced by DaiSorin, Inc.  Both tests are authorized by the FDA for detecting the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and are not intended for diagnosis of COVID-19.

      This is not a diagnostic test that will determine if you have the COVID-19 virus. If you believe you have the active virus, please do not come to a LifeServe location.

      An antibody test is looking for evidence that your body has produced antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. LifeServe Blood Center is only providing antibody test results. Donors who feel unwell should contact their primary care physician. Donors who feel unwell or who are displaying symptoms of any illness are not eligible to donate.

    • Blood donors can participate in this testing at any LifeServe Blood Center mobile blood drive or donor center location. Appointments are required for all blood donations.

    • No. Blood donors must have an appointment to give either whole blood, platelets, double red cells, or plasma and will be tested as part of their donation.

    • A positive test means that the donor was very likely infected with the COVID-19 virus or received the COVID-19 vaccine and is now building antibodies. A negative test result indicates that the donor does not have detectable antibodies in their blood at the time of donation, but that does not mean they have not previously been infected with COVID-19.

    • Yes. You have the ability to opt out of this test by answering NO during the pre-donation screening questionnaire. If you opt out, your blood donation will not have a COVID-19 antibody test performed.

    • No. Unfortunately at this time, LifeServe Blood Center is only offering antibody testing for its blood donors.

    • LifeServe Blood Center is pleased to offer this test to our donors at no charge.

    • No. This program began Monday, August 3, 2020, and only donations from that point forward will be tested.

    COVID-19 Antibody Test Results

      • After 5-7 business days, your COVID-19 antibody test results will be posted to our secure blood donor portal on our website: Every blood donor has a unique, secure online donor profile where you can access this result and other blood donation information such as blood pressure readings, pulse, hemoglobin, etc. Other results of infectious disease testing performed by LifeServe are not posted on our secure blood donor portal.   

      • Donors should visit and log into their account. Results are available under the My Test Results tab.

        Antibody test results

        antibody test results

      • Donors who have not yet created an account will need to do so by visiting:

        If creating an account for the first time, donors should note a few things: donors must use their legal names. Nicknames will not be accepted.

        Donor ID numbers are available on your Donor ID card. If you have not yet received your Donor ID card, email for assistance.

        You will not need a Unit number. Leave that field blank.

      • Your Donor ID is included in your post donation email. You should receive that the day following your donation.

      • Donors who have opted in to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies will receive one of two test results: positive or negative.

        POSITIVE: The donor has created antibodies against the COVID-19 virus.
        NEGATIVE: The donor has not made antibodies against the COVID-19 virus.

      • Yes, but only for blood donors who opt in for COVID-19 antibody testing. LifeServe Blood Center is working in partnership with the State of Iowa’s Public Health Department to understand the spread of COVID-19. Demographic information from blood donors that have positive COVID-19 antibody test results will be provided to the State of Iowa’s Public Health Department to continue their research regarding the spread of the virus.

      • Because LifeServe is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and the majority of our collections are from Iowa, we are working with the State of Iowa’s Public Health Department. All testing is being done through that partnership.

      COVID-19 Antibodies

        • With the limited knowledge of this virus, current research shows that the antibodies are present for a few months and then may slowly decrease. Research shows the level of antibodies will vary between people.

        • There is no wait period after receiving the vaccine before you can donate blood.

        • As of March 20, we are pausing our convalescent plasma program due to hospital need going down which is a good thing! We would love to schedule you for another blood donation moving forward. The same way convalescent plasma helped COVID-19 patients, your continued blood donations will help cancer patients, surgery patients and many others in our hospitals.