During a platelet donation, an automated apheresis process is used to collect up to six times the amount of platelets in a whole blood donation, which benefits patients by exposing them to fewer donors.
- Platelets have a shelf-life of only 5 days, and platelet donors are in constant demand
- Types most needed: A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-
- Donate every 7 days, (up to 24 times/year); seven days later, you can donate whole blood or double red cells.
- Approximate donation time: 2 hours
- Platelet donations can be made at our Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, and St. Paul donor center locations
Platelet apheresis FAQ
- How is a platelet donation different from a whole blood donation?
During a whole blood donation, blood is collected as one unit that contains 55% plasma, 45% red blood cells, and <1% platelets. With so few platelets collected from this process, six whole blood donations would be needed to provide enough platelets for a single transfusion. For example, a typical bone marrow transplant recipient would require platelets from about 120 whole blood donations.
When you make a platelet donation, platelets are collected while your other blood components—red blood cells and plasma—are returned to you. Donors experience no fluid loss during this donation process.
- Why donate platelets?
Every year, platelets save and sustain the lives of cancer, transplant, and trauma patients—and people undergoing open-heart surgery. 20 units of platelets can be life-saving for a patient with severe burns, while a single accident victim can require up to 40 units to survive. Donated platelets remain viable for only five days, and volunteer donors are in continuous demand to help ensure platelets are available every day—especially on weekends and over the winter and summer holidays.
- Why is platelet apheresis so important?
Apheresis—meaning to 'separate'—allows you to give just one part of your blood and in greater quantities than through traditional whole blood donations. Specifically, the platelet apheresis process collects enough platelets to support up to two or three patients in need.
- How long does the process take?
A platelet donation typically takes two hours, during which time you can use the internet, watch TV, or simply relax.
- How often can I donate?
Platelets can be donated every 7 days, as long as eligibility criteria are met. Your body makes new platelets in 24 hours, making it possible to donate frequently—up to 24 times per year. Seven days after each platelet donation, you also can return to donate whole blood or double red cells.
- Are there additional eligibility requirements?
In addition to general donor eligibility requirements (e.g., age, weight, health status), platelet donors must be free of any aspirin product or aspirin-containing medicine or Feldene for at least 48 hours prior to donating. At your donation, your hemoglobin will be tested to ensure that there is an acceptable amount of iron in your blood. Results from the standard mini-physical and confidential interview also will be used to determine eligibility.
- How can I become a platelet donor?
Donors interested in becoming platelet donors should ask to have their platelet count tested at their next donation. Platelet donors must meet a minimum qualifying platelet count.
As of Spring 2019, females interested in donating platelets will be screened for HLA antibodies. HLA antibodies aren’t normally harmful to the person who made them, but they can be harmful for a patient who receives a platelet or plasma transfusion. Female donors found to be negative for HLA will be eligible to donate platelets.