Based on your blood type, personal characteristics and, often, where the need is greatest, you can ensure that you make the most of valuable gift. While a whole blood donation can be made 3-4 times a year, you also can donate just one part of your blood—red blood cells or platelets—and provide even more of the life-saving gifts patients need. Whatever type of donation you choose, there is more than one way to save lives.
Produced in the bone marrow, blood is typically collected in what is called "whole blood" and then may be separated into three components—red cells, platelets, and plasma.
A special automated process, called apheresis (AY-fur-EE-sis), collects two units of red blood cells during a single donation. In just two annual appointments, you can contribute the same number of life-saving red cells as you would from four whole blood donations—in half the visits.
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A platelet donation, using an automated apheresis (AY-fur-EE-sis) process, allows you to give just one part of your blood and in greater quantities than through traditional methods. Making a platelet apheresis donation collects enough platelets—in just one visit—for two life-saving transfusions.
In addition to meeting general eligibility standards (e.g., age, weight, health status), platelet donors must maintain a healthy platelet count and must not have taken any aspirin-containing product for 48 hours prior to donating.
Donors interested in becoming platelet donors should ask to have their platelet count tested at their next donation appointment. Platelet donors must meet a minimum qualifying platelet count. Effective October 1, 2016, females with a history of pregnancy are required to be screened for HLA antibodies. Testing may be requested at Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s 84th & O Street location. HLA antibodies aren’t normally harmful to the person who made them, but they can be harmful for a patient who receives a platelet or plasma transfusion. Female donors found to be negative will be eligible to donate platelets.
To schedule a platelet donation, please call 1-877-486-9414.