• Blood Platelet Donations

    Six Reasons to Donate Platelets

    1. Platelets are a lifeline for many, especially those with cancer and leukemia.
    2. Platelet donation gives in a way that no amount of money could give.
    3. For each donation, you help up to three lives.
    4. You lose little volume during platelet donation, so you can resume normal activity after donating.
    5. Your body replaces donated platelets quickly, so you can donate as often as once a month.
    6. Platelet donation is a small time commitment for a large impact.
  • Platelets are small cells in the blood that help control bleeding. They plug small holes in blood vessels and assist in the clotting process.

    During an apheresis donation, we draw blood from your arm into a machine that automatically separates the components of your blood. Platelets divert to the collection bag and your remaining blood components return to you. The component separation within the machine takes place in a sterile, disposable chamber used only for your collection.

    Every day, people like you need platelet transfusions to support them through treatments for cancer, leukemia, aplastic anemia, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions. With one apheresis donation, you can safely give up to 12 times the number of platelets typically contained in a whole blood donation. Because we can only store platelets for five days, we need many platelet donations every day to ensure a full supply of this life-saving resource.

    Platelet donors must be between the ages of 17 and 65 (16 with parental consent), weight at least 110 pounds and be in good general health. Additionally, platelet donors must not take Aspirin, or products that contain Aspirin, for 36 hours prior to donating.

    Blood is made up of several components including red cells, white cells, plasma and platelets. When you give whole blood, you give all of these components at once. Through a specialized donation process called apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis), healthy adults can give a single component of their blood, such as platelets.

    Yes. Trained staff, along with a computerized cell separator, monitor each donation. As with all donation procedures, we use new sterile needles, tubing and collection kits for each donor. Your blood does not come into contact with the cell separator itself.

    As with whole blood donation, most donors feel only a slight pinch when we place the needle in the arm.

    The platelet donation procedure takes about two hours. Because of the amount of time involved, it is important to schedule donation appointments in advance. Appointments ensure our staff and equipment are available when you arrive. If you need to cancel your appointment, please give us notice 48 hours ahead of time so we can ensure our patients have platelets available.

    Platelets control bleeding. Patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments cannot produce the platelets they need to survive. Without these platelets, patients could bruise severely or bleed internally.

    To make an appointment or for more information about donating platelets, call the AAMC Blood Donor Center at 443-481-4215.