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Platelet Donation Program

Thinking of Giving Blood?

For more info or to make an appointment, call 508-86BLOOD or 508-862-5663 or sign up for our email newsletter.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are platelets collected?

Just as in whole blood donation, a needle is inserted in a donor’s arm. Blood is drawn through closed, sterile tubing that passes through a centrifuge, which separates platelets from the whole blood. The platelets are collected in a sterile collection bag with almost all red cells and plasma returned to the donor via the same needle.

Who can donate platelets?

Almost anyone who is a whole blood donor can donate platelets. You’re eligible if you are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health. You can donate platelets every 14 days or a total of 26 times per year.

Is there any special preparation?

Platelet donors must not take aspirin or products containing aspirin within 48 hours of their donation. Aspirin consumption takes away the “stickiness” of platelets, causing the platelets to lose their ability to adhere properly when needed to stop bleeding. Some donors experience tingling during the donation, but increasing calcium in your diet prior to donating helps alleviate this symptom.

If I donate platelets, when can I give whole blood?

You only have to wait 14 days before you can give whole blood after donating platelets since very few red blood cells are lost during a platelet donation. However, if you donate whole blood first, you must wait 56 days before you can donate platelets or any other blood product due to the fact that you lose approximately 200 milliliters of red blood cells during whole blood donations.

Is there a chance of contracting a disease from the equipment?

No! A disposable, sterile donation kit is used for each donor. The tubing and needles are disposed of after each donation.

How will I feel after I donate?

You will feel great about giving others a fighting chance at life. Physically, you should feel perfectly fine. Only a small percentage of your platelets are collected, and are replaced within 24 hours. You should not feel tired or lightheaded since you lose such a small amount of red blood cells. Try to avoid strenuous exercise or lifting after donating.

About Platelet Donation

  • In the human body, platelets are the first step in the clotting process.
  • Donors give about 10% of their platelets, with no loss in clotting ability.
  • Bone marrow transplant, cancer and leukemia patients benefit significantly from platelets, which greatly reduce the chances of rejection.
  • It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to collect enough platelets to help bone marrow transplant, cancer, and leukemia patients.
  • Donors with high platelet counts often are able to donate two or three units of platelets in one visit.
  • The collection bags, tubing and needles are all sterile, and used for one donation only. The donor’s blood never comes in direct contact with the system.
  • Individuals can donate platelets frequently (every 14 days) because platelets are rapidly replaced, usually within one day.
  • Platelets only have a shelf-life of 5 days and are typically transfused within 3 days.
  • Platelets can be collected from whole blood donations, but it would take 6-8 whole blood donors to give the equivalent number of platelets a single Platelet Donor can provide.