Donating Blood Components

Traditionally, blood donation involves drawing a single unit of whole blood. But there's another option where you can donate one blood component (platelets, plasma or red cells) at a time. Through a process called apheresis, you can donate with a special machine that draws your blood, filters out the needed component, and returns the rest of your blood back to you.

Apheresis Process

  • Blood goes through a sterile tube from your arm into a centrifuge.
  • The centrifuge spins the blood to separate the different blood components.
  • The desired component (for example, platelets) is drawn up into a collection bag.
  • The remaining components (red cells and plasma, in this example) are returned to the donor.

Who Needs Components?

  • Platelets uses: hemorrhaging, cancer, organ transplant, bone marrow transplants, heart surgery
  • Plasma uses: burns, hemophilia, immune system deficiencies, liver transplants, bone marrow transplants, increase overall blood volume, trauma
  • Red cell uses: trauma, surgery, anemia, blood disorders, blood loss

Why Donate Components?

Donating components via apheresis is a more efficient way to collect desired blood components. For example, a whole blood unit only contains about two tablespoons of platelets. So multiple donations need to be pooled in order to make one full transfusable unit of platelets. However, the apheresis process can draw almost a full transfusion of platelets from one donor in a single sitting. And recipients always benefit when they can receive components from a single donor, as it reduces the chance of negative reactions.

What Component Should I Donate?

Determining what component you should donate is simple. Just find your blood type below and see which component(s) Michigan Blood recommends. You can learn more about each component by clicking the name below.

A+, B+, O+, AB+, AB-

AB+, AB-

A-, B-, O-
Red Blood Cells

Who Can Donate Components?

  • Healthy, non-first time donors
  • At least 17 years old
  • No aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs in the past 48 hours
  • We are currently expanding our component donation capabilities, so please check to see if your local donation center offers component donations.
  • Appointment required - Call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) to make an appointment to donate components.