Automated donations

In this form of blood donation, the donor's blood is collected using an automated blood collection system that separates the blood into its components, the red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Depending upon the type of donation, one component is kept while the rest are returned to the donor.

The advantages of automated blood donations are:

  • Only the blood component needed is removed with the rest being returned to the donor.
  • Donors can donate more frequently, depending upon the blood component collected.
  • The donor can help more people in need by donating more frequently and by donating more during each donation.

Automated blood donations take longer than donating whole blood (1-1/2 to 2 hours). Because of this, we provide wireless Internet access, televisions and movies for the donor to watch during the donation.

Platelet donations (plateletpheresis)

In this type of automated donation, platelets are collected and the remaining blood components are returned to the donor. Platelets help blood to clot and the platelets collected during plateletpheresis commonly are given to people with leukemia, people receiving chemotherapy and babies with severe infections.

In order to be eligible to donate platelets, the donor must meet all of the requirements for whole blood donation. They must also:

  • Have not taken aspirin or any aspirin-containing medicine for 48 hours
  • Donors can donate platelets as often as every two weeks. They cannot donate more than 24 times in one year.

Plasma donations (plasmapheresis)

In this type of automated donation, the liquid portion of the blood (plasma) is collected and the remaining blood components are returned to the donor. Plasma helps blood to clot and the plasma collected is commonly given to patients whose livers do not work, patients with burns and patients with severe bacterial infections in their blood.

To donate plasma, donors must meet all of the requirements for whole blood donation. Donors who are blood group AB are special plasma donors because their plasma can be given to any of the other blood types. Because of this, AB plasma is frequently in short supply.

Donors can donate plasma every four weeks.

Red blood cell donations (double red cells)

In a double red cell automated donation, two units of red blood cells are collected and the remaining blood components are returned to the donor. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. They are the most needed after a significant blood loss through trauma, surgery or anemia. A red cell donation is typically transfused within days, so the need for this component is ongoing.

Donors can donate double red cells every 16 weeks.

To learn more about automated donations or to see if you are eligible, contact us at 904-953-6516 or mcfblooddonorcenter@mayo.edu.