Types of Donations

Types of Donations

What is a whole blood donation?

For a whole blood donation, about one pint of blood is collected and separated into red cells, platelets and plasma. The actual act of giving whole blood is between six- and 10 minutes; the whole process including a health history screening and mini-physical takes about an hour.


What is a Double Red donation?

You can give two units of red blood cells and can feel twice as good about saving lives by giving a Double Red cell donation. Red blood cells are the most used blood component for surgery, trauma and treatment of blood disorders. When an individual donates whole blood, LifeShare separates a single unit of red blood cells using manual procedures in the laboratory. The special advantage of the Double Red cell procedure is that you are able to give two units of red blood cells without any ill effects. Plus, this procedure involves a small needle and donors are given a hydrating boost of saline solution during the process.

Who should donate double red cells?

Donors with blood types O and B typically are the best for this donation procedure. These are the types most in demand from hospitals served by The Blood Center and the types most difficult to provide in adequate quantities.

Are there any special requirements for donating double red cells?

Yes. The weight and height requirements are different for both men and women.

  • Males: Minimum 130 pounds and 5’1" in height
  • Females: Minimum 150 pounds and 5’3" in height
  • Iron level: For both men and women – 40 percent or 13.3 hemoglobin
  • Donation interval: Three times annually or every 16 weeks (versus six times annually or every eight weeks for a whole blood donation)

Other reasons to donate double red blood cells through apheresis:

  • You will help LifeShare better match your donation to the needs of patients.
  • You will help stabilize the regional blood inventory, especially in times when blood donations are needed most.
  • You will maximize your ability to help others without extra visits to donate.

What is platelet pheresis and why am I needed?

Platelets are blood component that helps control bleeding. Most often donated platelets are transfused into a child or adult battling cancer or leukemia. During harsh but necessary radiation and chemotherapy treatments, patients’ platelets are destroyed placing them at risk of fatal hemorrhaging.

Unlike red blood cells, which can be stored for 42 days after donation, platelets only have a five day shelf life. Because testing takes two days, we have a narrow three-day period for transfusion to the patient. Because of the number of cancer and leukemia patients we are now able to save with advances in transfusion medicine, coupled with a short shelf-life, the need for platelet donors is continuous.

How is a platelet donation different from the traditional blood donation?

Platelets are only one component of blood. There are two other types of components which comprise what most of us refer to as “blood.” These components are called red blood cells and plasma. When you cut yourself and see your blood, you can’t actually see with your naked eye the components, but they exist and each has specific functions.

During a traditional blood donation, a person donates about one pint of blood. Shortly after the donation is completed, our laboratory then separates that blood into its three components and also manufactures cryoprecipitate. Because there are only approximately two ounces of platelets in this traditional blood donation, five different donors’ platelets must be combined to create one therapeutic dose.

A platelet pheresis donation differs from a whole blood donation in a few basic ways:

During apheresis, the three components of your blood (red cells, platelets and plasma) are separated while you donate instead of after your donation. Your blood is separated with a machine that can isolate the platelets and keep them while returning the red cells and plasma back to you.

Is it safe to donate platelets?

Yes, it is safe to donate platelets. Your blood never comes in contact with the machine. The material used to collect your blood is a sterile one-use-only kit. As a result, you can not contract AIDS or any other transmissible disease from donating platelets. In addition, healthy people have an ample supply of platelets in their bodies. So you will still have more than enough platelets left after your donation. In fact, your body will replenish the platelets you have donated within 72 hours.

Who can donate platelets?

If you meet the requirements for giving blood, you probably can give platelets. Platelets donors must:

  • Be at least 17 years old.
  • Have successfully donated whole blood or automated double red cells at least once.
  • Be in good health.
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • Not have taken aspirin or products containing aspirin for 48 hours prior to donation.

While a platelet donation takes from 60 to 90 minutes, you get a chance to sit in a comfortable chair, watch a movie or just relax and enjoy other people who give in this special way. If you are interested in making an appointment to donate, call 1-866-644-5433 or click here.

For more information please call (440) 322-5700 ext. 201 or e-mail htackett@lifeshare.cc to reach Special Donations Coordinator Heather Tackett.


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