Donating platelets

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 have low platelets or platelets that don't function properly (e.g. cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy) need platelet transfusions as part of their treatment. 

FAQs: Platelet donations 

For questions related to COVID-19, see our COVID-19 page for details.

Am I eligible to donate platelets?

Any healthy individual who meets our eligibility criteria can donate platelets. Regular donors can give platelets every two weeks. Ask us about donating platelets at your next whole blood donation or give us a call at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

How often can I donate platelets?

You can donate platelets as often as every 14 days. New platelet donors are encouraged to donate once a month.

Find a donor centre or location

How long does a platelet donation take?

Each appointment takes approximately an hour and a half. The plateletpheresis process is usually about 75 to 100 minutes for a large-volume donation and about 50 to 75 minutes for a single-unit donation, depending on your platelet count.

What is the difference between a large-volume and single-unit donation?

Large-volume donations collect two times more platelets than a single donation. One large volume donation makes twice as much transfusable platelet units. Since our bodies manufacture and store extra platelets, the platelets collected during your donation is replaced almost immediately.

Once I start donating platelets, can I still give blood?

Yes, although we recommend you choose just one type of donation to make regularly. If you do wish to donate both blood and platelets, you need to wait 56 days after either type of donation before making the other.

What if I change my mind about donating platelets?

You’re welcome to try different donation programs to see which you like best: blood, plasma or platelets.

What if I am not eligible to donate platelets?

Every donation is valuable and helps save lives. Blood is just as important as platelets: we appreciate your generosity and commitment, whatever you’re able to give.

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 your local donor centre.

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Is it possible to draw only platelets from a donation?

As with a whole blood donation, we insert a needle into your arm and draw blood from your body. But instead of going straight into a collection bag, the blood passes through a centrifuge that separates out your platelets. The rest of the blood flows back into your body through the same needle. Most of the time only platelets are collected however, every 56 days we may collect plasma at the same time as the platelet donation. All of the supplies that come in contact with your blood are sterile and used only once.