The American Red Cross would like you to know about a blood collection process that may allow you to safely give two units of red blood cells during one donation.
The process known as double red cell technology helps the Red Cross collect the blood components most frequently required by patients. Patients rarely need a whole blood transfusion and often receive specific parts of the blood such as platelets, red cells and plasma.
"With my blood type, I have the opportunity to donate doubles and help even more in need,” said J.D. Fouche of Frederick, Maryland. “I choose double red cell donation to help provide the most useful blood components to patients. It's also more convenient for my schedule, because I can give twice the amount of red cells in just one appointment."
To qualify as a double red cell donor, you must meet certain specific height and weight requirements that are different from a traditional blood donation. The donor must also meet other qualifications associated with giving blood to ensure that it is safe to give blood..
During a double red cell donation, blood is drawn from one arm through a sterile needle connected to a machine. The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining parts of the blood, along with some saline replacement fluid, back to the person giving blood..The saline replacement fluid ensures that the donor’s blood volume is the same at the end of the donation as it was at the beginning, and results in fewer adverse experiences during donation.
Whole blood donors are eligible to give every 56 days. If someone finds it difficult to set aside the time to donate every eight weeks, the double red cell donation allows them to give more of the product needed most by patients and be eligible to return after four months. Donors who have O, A negative or B negative blood types and meet the double red cell qualifications should contact their local Red Cross Blood Services Region to learn more about donation opportunities in their area.
Alternatively, If you would like to learn more about giving blood, and double red cell donations, visit www.redcrossblood.org.