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How Platelet Donation Works

What Happens When You Donate Platelets

Platelets are donated through a process called plateletpheresis, which is much more efficient than gathering platelets from whole blood donations. (A single platelet treatment would require six to eight whole blood donors instead of just one plateletpheresis donor.) It is better for the patient because it reduces exposure to multiple donors.

The platelet donation process follows the same steps as whole blood donation registration, screening, donation and after-care.

Is it possible to draw only platelets from a donation?

As with a whole blood donation, we insert a needle into your arm and draw blood from your body. But instead of going straight into a collection bag, the blood passes through a centrifuge that separates out your platelets. The rest of the blood flows back into your body through the same needle. All of the supplies that come in contact with your blood are sterile and used only once.

How long does it take to donate platelets?

A plateletpheresis appointment takes about an hour and a half. The platelet donation itself takes approximately 75 to 100 minutes for a large-volume donation and 50 to 75 minutes for a single-unit donation, depending on your platelet count.

What is the difference between a large-volume and single-unit donation?

Large-volume donations help save more lives and are safer for recipients because fewer donor platelets are combined, reducing the chance of reactions. Because the body manufactures and stores extra platelets, the platelets collected during the procedure will be replaced almost immediately.

How often can I donate?

A regular donor can donate platelets every two weeks. Call your local clinic to book an appointment today.