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University Health

Types of Blood Donations

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Be someone's lifeline. Schedule an appointment to donate blood. Call us at 210-358-2812 or use the link below.

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Types of Blood 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 decreases 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 University Health medical staff to be educated of the implications associated.