Double Red Cell Donation

Double Your Impact!

You can play an important role in our community, while making a difference in the lives of patients – and you can do it by making fewer visits to the blood center.

Double Red Cell donations allow you to give enough red blood cells for two transfusions in a single visit.  The process, called apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis), involves the use of a medical device to harvest a super dose of packed red blood cells.  Your platelets and plasma are returned during the procedure, along with saline solution.  As a result, most donors report that they feel better after giving a double red cell.

Who Can Give?

Double Red Cell donors must meet the same requirements as whole blood donors, in addition to having a higher iron level (hematocrit) and different height to weight ratios.  Because donors give twice as many red cells during this procedure, the deferral period between donations is twice as long – 112 days.

What is the Process Like?

The process is really not much different than a whole blood donation.  After completing the medical history, double red cell donors have a seat on a comfortable lounge chair.  A sterile, single-use blood collection kit is installed onto the apheresis instrument.  Many donors are pleased to find out that the needle used for the double red cell procedure is actually smaller than the one used for whole blood.  During the procedure, the instrument removes the red cells and returns the platelets and plasma to the donor – along with saline solution to replace the blood volume removed.  The actual donation takes around 25 minutes – or 10-15 minutes longer than a whole blood donation.  After giving, donors are encouraged to enjoy some refreshments in the canteen area.

Criteria for Donating Double Red Cells

  • At least sixteen years old (16 year olds require written permission from parent or guardian)
  • Weight requirements are determined by your height/weight ratio
  • Be in good health

Some additional tips to help ensure a great experience:

  • Get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of extra fluids prior to your donation.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal approximately two to three hours before donating.
  • Never attempt to donate blood on an empty stomach.