Why Blood Matters

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. And every patient is different.

While someone being treated for leukemia may need platelets, burn victims frequently need plasma. Red blood cells can mean the difference between life and death for a premature baby.

About Blood Components

Produced in the bone marrow, blood is typically collected as “whole blood” and then separated into its unique components: platelets, red cells, and plasma. Each can deliver a lifesaving benefit to someone in need.

These components can also be made as separate donations. Platelets, red cell, and plasma-only donations are made using a specialized process, much like a whole blood donation — it just takes a little longer. This means you can give more of the type of component that your blood type is most used for.

The Need is Constant

There is no substitute for blood. Blood components cannot be synthetically made and can only come from volunteer donors. It’s the blood on the shelves today that saves lives — which is why donors are needed to give regularly so that there is enough blood when a disaster or crisis occurs.

Get the Facts

About Blood Types

Often abbreviated ABO, blood types are inherited and fall into four groups or types: O, A, B, AB. Each blood type also is identified as either Rh positive or negative (the Rh factor being an inherited blood group on red blood cells).

Approximately 85% of the U.S. population is Rh-positive (i.e.,
O+, A+, B+, AB+). Those who do not have the Rh factor are Rh-negative (O-, A-, B-, AB-) and are less common. Donors and recipients must be safely matched by blood types.

Right Type for Your Blood Type

If you are% of U.S.'You can give to'You can receive from'Donation type most needed


38%O+, A+, B+, AB+O+/-Double red cells, Platelets


7%All Blood TypesO-Double red cells


34%A+, AB+O+/-, A+/-Platelets, Plasma


6%A+/-, AB+/-O-, A-Double red cells, Platelets


9%B+, AB+O+/-, B+/-Platelets, Plasma


2%B+/-, AB+/-O-, B-Double red cells, Platelets


3%AB+All Blood TypesPlasma, Platelets


1%AB+/-O-, A-, B-, AB-Plasma, Platelets
* Percentage based on U.S. population. Donation for red cell transfusion.

Lifesaving Blood Components

What is it?What does it do?Whose lives are saved?How long do they last?How often can I donate?When does my body replenish what I donated?


Small colorless cell fragments in bloodControl bleedingLeukemia and cancer patients, people undergoing cardiac surgery, burn victims, organ and bone marrow transplant recipients, and individuals with bleeding disordersDonated platelets have a shelf-life of only 7 days24 times per yearWithin a few hours of donating

Red Cells

Disc-shaped cells that give blood its red colorCarry oxygen throughout the bodyPremature infants, trauma
victims, surgical patients, people battling cancer, sickle cell, kidney disease, and anemia
Donated red blood cells last 42 daysWhole blood, every 56 days
Double red blood cells,
every 112 days
2-4 weeks


A pale yellow mixture
of water, proteins, and salts
Promotes clottingBurn victims, cardiac surgery patients, liver transplant recipients, and patients suffering from shock or bleeding and immune disorders. Plasma not needed for transfusion may be made into other lifesaving productsDonated plasma can be frozen and stored for up to 1 year12 times per yearWithin a couple of days