What You Need to Know to Donate Platelets
Platelet transfusions have made a critical difference in Laura’s life, who thought she had a skin rash at age 11 and turned out to have aplastic anemia. "We experienced firsthand the life-saving gift of blood donation," says her mother Francine. Here is Laura’s story.
Platelets are the component of blood that helps with clotting. If an injury or blood loss occurs, platelets are released and a person’s blood begins to clot to prevent excessive bleeding. In a healthy person, a large number of platelets are manufactured and stored in the body. Patients who experience prolonged bleeding associated with diseases like cancer need large quantities of platelets as part of their treatment.
How platelets work
Platelets are about a quarter of the size of red blood cells and are not whole cells but rather fragile cell fragments. When a blood vessel is damaged, platelets stick to the edges of it, clustering together to plug the hole. If the injury to the vessel is large, platelets alone will not stop the bleeding, so they release other factors that start blood clotting. The interaction of the released platelet factors and other plasma protein clotting factors results in a stronger patch on the injured site.
Am I eligible to donate platelets?
Any healthy individual who meets Canadian Blood Services eligibility criteria can donate platelets. Regular donors can give platelets every two weeks. Ask at your next whole blood donation to find out more about donating platelets, or give us a call at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283). Learn more here about how donation works.
Where can I donate platelets?
Platelet donations are by appointment only. If you are thinking of making your first platelet donation or want to book an appointment, call the local number for your region. You can find clinics and their hours here.