Whole Blood

January 27, 2019 at 8:46 am

What is whole blood donation? A whole blood (WB) donation is the most common form of blood donation, in which a person gives one pint of blood.

What is whole blood used for? After your donation, our lab separates the whole blood into its components. We do this because it allows us to deliver what patients need more specifically. The components we separate out are:

  • Plasma: Many proteins in plasma that help with blood clotting come from the liver. It can be used for patients who have certain bleeding problems or in an emergent trauma situation.
  • Red Blood Cells: Red blood cells transport oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and remove carbon dioxide and waste. Red blood cells are indicated for more than 70% of all transfusions. Patients who lose or at risk of losing significant volumes of blood require red blood cell transfusions.  This population includes patients who have suffered severe trauma, have a perforated bleeding ulcer, or who are undergoing a major surgical procedure.

How long does donating take? The actual “draw” takes around 7 minutes, and the process overall takes about an hour. There are four basic steps in the whole blood donation process: registration, medical history, donation, and rest & refreshments. To learn more about what to expect when donating, click here.

What are the requirements for donating WB? To learn more about the requirements for donating whole blood, visit our eligibility page.

How often can I donate? Donors ages 16-18 are eligible for a whole blood donation once every six months (180 days) or a double red blood cell donation (DRBC) once every 12 months (365 days). Donors 19 years of age or older are eligible for a whole blood donation every 56 days or a DRBC donation every four months.

How do I make an appointment to donate? To make an appointment to donate whole blood, you can schedule online at sbcdonor.org or give us a call at 650-723-7831.

Continue to other types of blood products…