Platelet, double red cell, or plasma donations

Blood contains several components, including red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells and plasma. During platelet or plasma donation, your blood is collected and then separated into its components by a machine; the machine keeps the platelets or plasma and returns the rest to you. Your blood stays confined within a single-use sterile tubing kit and sterile equipment, so the process is completely safe. This procedure allows you to donate more frequently.

Platelet or plasma donations take approximately 1 1/2 to two hours. The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center in Rochester, Minn., provides televisions, video-on-demand and wireless Internet access for donors to use during donations.

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.

Platelet donor must meet all of the requirements for whole blood donation, and also:

  • Have donated whole blood at Mayo Clinic or double red cells, plasma or platelets elsewhere
  • Have not taken aspirin or any aspirin-containing medicine within the past 48 hours

Donors can donate platelets as often as every eight days, up to 24 times in a 12-month period.

Did you know
Platelets from a whole blood donation or automated donation are only good for five days. Red blood cells from a whole blood donation are good for 42 days.

Double red cell donations

Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the entire body. Reasons some people only need red blood cells include:

  • Having an urgent need for blood due to severe blood loss, such as after an injury or accident.
  • Having anemia with serious symptoms.

A special method called double red blood cell donation allows you to donate twice the amount of red blood cells than you normally would during a whole blood donation. Double red blood cell donation is a type of automated blood donation process called apheresis.

Double red cell donor must meet all of the requirements for whole blood donation, Have donated whole blood at Mayo Clinic or double red cells, plasma or platelets elsewhere and also:

  • Men must be at least 5’ 1” tall and weigh at least 130 pounds.
  • Women must be at least 5’ 5” tall and weigh at least 150 pounds.
  • Both men and women must have:
    • Hemoglobin level greater than or equal to 13.3 g/dL.
    • Hematocrit greater than or equal to 40 percent.

You can donate double red blood cells about once every 24 weeks.  During this time, you cannot make other types of blood donations.  Your body replaces the donated red blood cells in about 90 days.

Did you know
Double red blood cell donation is the most efficient way to donate blood? Here are some reasons why:

  • It provides twice the blood component that people need most.
  • It allows you to donate less often, yet it only takes about 15 minutes longer than donating whole blood.

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 people with liver conditions, burns or 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 high demand. Donors can donate plasma every four weeks.

Donors can donate plasma every four weeks.

To learn more about automated donations or to see if you are eligible, contact us at 507-284-4218 or donateblood@mayo.edu.

Did you know
AB+, AB- and IGA deficient donors are best suited for plasma collections. They make up a very small population of donors.