Whole blood is blood that contains red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. A whole blood donation is divided into components, such as red blood cells and platelets that are used to treat different types of patient needs.
All whole blood donations undergo leukoreduction to remove white blood cells, which reduces the risk of serious immune reactions that recipients may have when exposed to donor white cells.
The volume of a single whole blood donation is about 480 ml or less than 10 percent of a donor’s total blood volume.
A male can donate up to six times a year and a female can donate up to four times a year. All collection kits are sterilized and single use. You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by donating blood.
Our multi-tiered approach to safety includes extensive screening, strict donor selection criteria, and state-of-the-art testing technology.
Canadian Blood Services tests all blood for the following diseases: syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV-1 and 2, Human T-Cell lymphotropic virus HTLV-I and II, and West Nile Virus. Testing for Chagas disease is done on at risk donors and testing for Cytomegalovirus is done selectively as appropriate. Blood is also tested for ABO, Rh, and other blood groups.
100 per cent of blood components, including plasma, that are used for transfusion in Canada are donated by volunteer Canadian donors.
Why Whole Blood Is Important
Roughly every minute, every day, someone in Canada needs blood. Blood and blood components are used to treat a number of injuries and illnesses including various forms of cancer, hip and joint conditions, transplants, traumas such as car crashes, blood disorders and many others.
Canadian Blood Services recruits voluntary donors and collects whole blood at over 35 permanent sites and approximately 14,000 clinics each year. We are responsible for ensuring the safety of Canada’s blood system, beginning by carefully screening donors to confirm they are in good health and eligible to donate.
More than half of all Canadians say they or a family member have required blood or blood components for surgery or medical treatment. This essential supply of blood components depends entirely on voluntary blood donations by members of the public.
Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Québec). We also lead an integrated, interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation for all of Canada.