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Benefits of Different Types of Blood Donations


For nearly five decades, National Blood Donor Month has been a time to raise awareness about the lifesaving benefits of blood donations and celebrate those who give back. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, blood donations have been lower than usual – but they’re more important than ever.

Types of blood donations

There are several blood donation types:

  • Whole blood donation is probably what you think of when you think about giving blood. People of all blood types can donate whole blood. The whole blood gets separated into its components and often supports people undergoing surgery or who have suffered a traumatic injury. These donation appointments typically last around an hour.
  • Plasma donation is giving one specific blood component, your plasma. Plasma is used in emergency situations, including to help patients fighting COVID-19. The appointment lasts a little longer than a whole blood donation, usually for around an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Platelet donation is giving one specific blood component, your platelets. Platelets are the part of your blood that forms clots to stop bleeding. These donations are critical parts of cancer treatment, organ transplants and other surgeries. These are the longest appointments, lasting up to three hours.

To donate, you also have to meet all the typical blood donor requirements, such as being over 16 years old and in generally good health.

If it’s been 56 days or longer since you’ve last donated blood, you may be able to donate again. Donating even just a few times a year can help save someone’s life – and that’s just one of the many reasons to donate.

You can use the American Red Cross location tool to schedule a blood donation today.