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Donating Blood Platelets

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413-794-4600

Just like blood donations, platelet donations are very important.

Platelet transfusions are often needed for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Because chemotherapy prevents the body from producing new blood cells to replace those that expire naturally, it is not unusual for such individuals to require dozens of platelet transfusions and other blood products are part of their treatment. Platelets can also be needed during surgery and in trauma care to help prevent or stop bleeding.

Platelet donation uses smaller needles than a traditional whole blood donation. The platelet apheresis machine draws blood from one arm through sterile tubing into another machine, which separates the red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells. The special tubing ensures your blood never comes in contact with the machine. Only the platelets are collected and the rest of your blood is returned to you along with some anticoagulant, which prevents blood clots. The amount of anticoagulant returned is not harmful to you.

Donors are able to give platelets every two weeks. Please do not take aspirin or ibuprofen 48 hours before your donation, eat a meal prior to donating and arrive well hydrated.

Where to Donate Platelets:

Blood Donor Center

Baystate Medical Center, Daly Building
759 Chestnut Street, 1st floor
Springfield, MA 01199

Monday: 8 am-12 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 12 pm-8 pm
Friday: 8 am-4 pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 8 am-12 pm

Who can donate?

In order to donate platelets you must:

  • be 17 years of ager or order.
  • weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • be in general good health (no cold, active allergies, or sore throat).
  • bring a valid photo I.D. (Driver’s license or school I.D. is accepted).
  • bring your reading glasses the day of the blood drive (if needed).
  • know the date and place of travel outside the United States in the past three years.
  • know the medical conditions you have, and the medications you are taking.
  • have previously requested Baystate Health to collected a “platelet count” during a prior whole blood donation.

You can still donate platelets if you:

  • have had the flu shot or flu mist.
  • take blood pressure or cholesterol medication.
  • are diabetic (your glucose levels must be under control and you haven’t taken bovine insulin in the past).

Who cannot donate?

There are many disqualifiers for donating platelets. These precautions exist to protect both you as the donor, as well as the person who may receive your platelets.

Because of this, you may not donate if you:

  • have had a tattoo or body piercing within the last 12 months.
  • have had a dental cleaning in the past 24 hours.
  • are not feeling in good health on the day of your donation.

You cannot donate if you are affected by these health conditions:

  • Cancer: With the exception of certain types of skin cancer, anyone with a history of cancer is not eligible to donate blood. A history of dysplasia (abnormal development of cells) of the uterine cervix is acceptable.
  • Surgery: For most types of surgery, healing must be complete and normal activity resumed.
  • Pregnancy: Anyone who is pregnant or who has been pregnant within the past six weeks is not eligible to donate. Healing must be complete and regular activity resumed following Cesarean delivery.
  • Hepatitis: Anyone who has had viral hepatitis cannot donate platelets.

Pre-Donation Questionnaire

Each time you donate blood or platelets, you must complete a pre-donation questionnaire. This is required by the FDA and helps us ensure that you are safe to donate.

Donors may complete their questionnaire on their smart phone or computer prior to visiting the donor center or the bloodmobile. However, it is extremely important to note that the questionnaire must be completed on the same day that the donor intends to donate. Questionnaires that are completed any day prior to the date of the donation will not be accepted.

Access the pre-donation questionnaire.

The Donation Process

From start to finish, donating platelets takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Pre-Donation: 10 – 20 minutes

  • Provide a valid photo ID.
  • Complete a private, confidential interview that asks detailed questions about your health, travel, medications, risk factors, etc.
  • We will check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and perform a quick finger-stick blood test to determine your hemoglobin (iron) level.

Donation: 60 – 90 minutes

  • Our skilled and experienced staff will get you set up on the apheresis machine. All supplies are new and used only once!
  • We have a selection of DVDs available so that you may enjoy a movie while you donate.

Post Donation: 5 – 10 minutes

  • Rest and enjoy refreshments to replenish your fluids.
  • Select your thank you gift.
  • Schedule your next appointment to donate platelets.