Whole Blood and Platelet Donations

Each unit of donated blood can be separated into several components that have different uses in patient care. A single donation of blood from you could potentially help save the lives of as many as three patients.

Whole Blood Donation

Whole blood donation is the most common type of donation.

  • The blood is separated into different components – red cells, plasma, and platelets. Which can be used for several patient procedures.
  • The whole process takes about 30 minutes, from start to end.
  • Actual donation takes 8-10 minutes.
  • Donors are eligible to give every 8 weeks.

Platelet Donation

Blood drawn from your arm goes into a sterile container within an Apheresis Machine that separates blood. Here, the platelets are separated and the remaining blood components are returned to you.

  • Platelet donation takes one to 1 ½ - 2 hours from start to finish.
  • Platelets are the tiny cell fragments that help form clots and control bleeding.
  • Patients with leukemia, cancer or aplastic anemia need platelet transfusions because their disease and therapy decrease their body's ability to make these important cells.
  • The need for platelets is continuous because they can only be stored for five days!
  • University Health donors are eligible to give every 2 weeks with a max of 24 times per year.

Directed Donations

Direct donations can be given specifically for patients by a friend or family member.

  • Donor must have the doctor’s prescription.
  • Donor must consult with UHS medical directors to be educated of the implications associated.

Donation Process

Donating blood itself takes only about 10 minutes. Here’s what to expect when donating:

Step 1: Registration

  • You will fill out a questionnaire of your medical history, and possible risk to infectious agents.
  • You will be asked to provide a picture ID.

Step 2: Screening

  • You will go over the answers you provided in a private and confidential interview with a University Hospital staff member. This is to ensure you meet the requirements for donating blood.
  • A mini physical will be given to check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and iron level present in a sample of blood.

Step 3: Donation

  • A technician will swab your arm (inside the elbow area) with an iodine scrub and carefully insert a sterile needle into a vein. It will feel like a small pinch.
  • Sit back and relax!
  • Once approximately a pint of blood is collected, the needle will be removed and a staff member will bandage your arm with a sterile wrap.
  • Enjoy some refreshments on us!
  • Don’t forget your parking voucher! (if you come to donate at the hospital)