Blood donor qualifications
Prospective donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with written parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, present identification, be in good health and know the names of any medication they are taking. (The weight requirement slightly increases for female donors 5' 4" and under due to total blood volume.) A confidential screening process with questions and vital signs will further confirm eligibility for each type of donation process.
Frequency of blood donation
Whole blood donation: every 56 days (8 weeks)
Double red cell every 112 days (16 weeks)
Plasma every 28 days (4 weeks)
Platelets every 14 days (2 weeks)
Blood donation process
Before giving blood, make sure that you meet the requirements, get a good night's sleep, eat regular meals and drink plenty of fluids.
After you present a photo ID and read the information sheet you will undergo a mini exam (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and iron level) and then provide confidential answers to health history questions.
The donation takes place in a comfortable chair. Most donors feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted and nothing after that.
After the donation, you should sit down and have a snack and beverage. If you experience any light-headedness let your donor technician know and lie down until you feel better. Do not use tobacco products for the next 30 minutes. Leave the arm bandage on and do not engage in strenuous activity or lift heavy objects for the next two to four hours. For the next 24 - 48 hours be sure to increase fluid intake.
Types of automated donation processes (Apheresis)
Automated double red cell donation allows a donor to give two units of red cells in just one visit. Though two units of red blood cells are collected, all of the plasma and platelets are returned along with 500 mL of saline. Donating two units takes slightly longer than donating whole blood so the donor should expect the donation itself to take 30 minutes. Donor requirements are to be 130 pounds and 5' 1" or taller for a male and at least 150 pounds and 5' 5" tall for a female and the hematocrit level must be at least 40%.
Plateletpheresis is a process in which blood is drawn with a sterile, single-use disposable kit and mixed with a solution to keep it from clotting. The blood is separated and platelets removed for donation. The remaining blood (plasma, red cells and white cells) are returned through the same needle. Plateletpheresis takes approximately 60 - 90 minutes. Platelets are used to help patients who are undergoing treatment such as leukemia, cancer and aplastic anemia. Without platelets, these patients may have uncontrolled bleeding.
Plasmapheresis is a process in which blood is drawn from the donor and while fully contained within a closed, sterile set of single-use plastic tubing, the plasma is separated for donation and the red blood cells and saline solution (to replace plasma) are returned to the donor. The process takes approximately 45 minutes. Plasma is used to help patients with clotting disorders including liver disease and hemophilia patients, accident victims who are bleeding profusely and burn victims.
After the blood is collected
The blood is separated into components (red cells, platelets and plasma). Every unit of blood is thoroughly tested for type, unexpected antibodies and communicable diseases within approximately 24 - 48 hours.
After tests confirm viability, the blood components are available for compatible patients to use. A person needing blood may have been in an emergency situation such as a car accident or burn victim. Patients often require blood transfusions while receiving cancer treatments, following an organ transplant, having surgery, suffering from sickle cell anemia or clotting disorders.
Donor Benefit Plan
LifeShare Blood Centers reimburses up to $500 per eligible person for processing fees of blood and blood components transfused at any U.S. hospital. Eligible persons are donors, spouses and other tax dependents living in the home. The benefit coverage is effective for one year after the most recent donation date. A Group Benefit option is also available for when at least 40 percent of the group's members donate within a specified time period. Groups qualifying for the Group Benefit extend the benefit to all members, spouses and tax dependents living in the home. If a group does not reach 40 percent, the donors and families are still covered under the Benefit Plan.