Donating Platelets

A platelet donation consists of the withdrawal of blood from the arm into a special machine where it’s separated into its component parts. A small percentage of your platelets are collected into a special container and the rest of the blood and platelets are returned. The entire donation process takes about two hours from start to finish. The actual donation time takes about 90 minutes.

This process is called apheresis (ay-fer-ee'-sis). Platelets can also be separated from a unit of donated whole blood, but fewer platelets can be collected with this process.

The steps for apheresis are similar to those for donating whole blood:

  • You register and receive a brief, confidential medical screening before the donation.
  • A nurse or technician cleanses areas on both of your arms, inserts needles for the blood drawing and return, and makes sure you’re comfortable. Blood is drawn from one arm, passed through a blood cell separator where platelets are collected and returned to you through your other arm.
  • Afterward, refreshments are served and your body immediately starts to replenish platelets.

People between 17 and 75 years of age, weighing over 110 pounds and in good health can donate platelets as frequently as every 48 hours, but no more than 24 times a year.

You must wait at least 72 hours after donating blood before you can donate platelets.

Where to Donate

American Red Cross - Greater Rochester Chapter
50 Prince Street
Rochester, NY 14607
Phone: 585-241-4400
Deaf or hearing impaired individuals by TTY at: 585-241-4464