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Types of Donations

Make the Most of Your Donation

You can Make the Most of Your Donation by donating specific blood components like red blood cells, platelets and plasma according to your blood type.

The San Diego Blood Bank uses an automated process called apheresis to separate these individual components, which allows for more efficient collection of blood products. For example, the number of platelets collected in one apheresis collection may equal the number collected from 6 to as many as 18 individual whole blood donations.

Patients benefit most from this process because they can receive transfusions from fewer donors, making the blood safer for them. Collecting blood by apheresis also allows us to collect the part of your blood most needed by patients according to blood type.

During an apheresis donation, blood is drawn from one arm and channeled through an automated system that separates and collects the most needed components and then returns the remaining blood components back to the donor. The process is safe and easy.

Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells travel through your body delivering oxygen. Units of red blood cells are often used in Emergency Rooms when treating accident victims and in Operating Rooms during surgeries. Red blood cells are also necessary when treating patients with anemia.

People with Type O blood are in great demand because they are considered "universal red cell donors," meaning their red blood cells can be safely transfused to patients with any blood type.

If you are Type O, you can Make the Most of Your Donation by donating Whole Blood or Double Red Cells (a double red cell donation is collected through an automated process that removes red cells and returns fluids back to the donor). Whole blood donors are eligible to give blood every eight weeks. Double Red Cell donors are eligible every 16 weeks. The donation process takes only a few minutes more than whole blood.

Platelets

Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding. Patients undergoing bone marrow transplants, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments or organ transplants often need platelets to survive. Platelets from donors of all blood types are needed.

Because platelets have only a five-day storage life, platelet donations are delivered quickly to patients who need them. Platelet donors have the satisfaction of knowing their donation will make a difference in someone's life immediately.

Please consider Making the Most of Your Donation by becoming a platelet donor. Platelet donors are eligible every two weeks. The collection process is longer than whole blood, so donors should be prepared to spend an average 73 minutes in the donor chair with a TV or DVD player available to help pass the time or relax with reading materials. Your gift of platelets is worth the wait!

Plasma

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that carries clotting factors and proteins. Plasma transfusions are needed to treat burn victims, trauma patients and those battling severe liver disease and cancer.

Type AB donors are known as "universal plasma donors," because patients of all blood types can safely receive their plasma. Plasma donors are eligible to donate every four weeks. The donation process takes minutes more than whole blood.

If you have Type AB blood, you may be a great candidate to donate plasma or platelets. Many donors give both at the same time!