Why is platelet donation so important? Platelets are essential for normal blood clotting. They are critically needed every day for some of the sickest patients, like those in cancer treatment or babies born without clotting factors. Because of this constant and critical demand, platelets are one of the most needed donation types.

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The short shelf life of platelets – just 5 days after they’re collected, tested and processed – also means we need donors every day of the year, including holidays.

Who can donate platelets?

Platelet donation requires additional criteria to ensure you’re a good candidate for this type of donation.

The ideal platelet donor:

  • Is healthy!
  • Weighs at least 110 pounds.
  • Has never been pregnant.
  • Has not taken aspirin within the last 48 hours.

If you have A+, B+, AB+, or AB- blood type, your blood will have the greatest impact when you donate platelets. If you meet the requirements for giving blood, then you can usually donate platelets. We will check your platelet count to see if platelet donation is right for you.

What is it like to donate platelets?

  • Platelet donation is done through apheresis, a process in which blood is removed, spun through a machine to remove the needed part, and then returned to the body. The full donation takes about two hours.
  • Platelets are most often given at donor centers, where we can make donors comfortable with reclining chairs and individual televisions. We’ll also provide plenty of snacks and drinks to keep you feeling strong during your donation.
  • Because only platelets are removed, donors can give more often – as often as every 7 days. Which means, you may be able to donate platelets up to 24 times a year compared to a maximum of 6 times a year for a whole blood donation.

Where do platelets go and who do they help?

  • Platelets are in constant demand by hospitals.
  • Every 15 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs platelets.
  • Platelets give cancer patients the strength they need to keep fighting. They also help patients survive major surgeries or serious injuries. Platelets give strength to patients with blood disorders and those with transplants.
  • Because platelets must be used within 5 days, new donors are needed every day. That's why we need you to be a platelet donor!

For more on who platelets help, read our story about Harvey, a 5-year-old Leukemia patient.

An infographic promoting platelet donation