Types of Donations

At Cedars-Sinai, you may donate in different ways.

Whole blood

Suggested blood types for this type of donation include: O+/O-, A+/A-, B+/B- (why?

This is the most common type of donation and consists of roughly one pint of blood (the average adult has about 10 pints of blood).

  • Blood from a single donation can divided into two transfusable components – red cells and plasma.
  • The donation itself takes about 5-10 minutes.
  • You are eligible to donate one unit of “whole blood” every 56 days.
  • Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
  • Plasma can be stored in a freezer for up to 12 months.

Suggested blood types for this type of donation include: AB+/AB-, A+/A-, B+/B- (why?

Platelets are small, disc-shaped cells in your blood that help control bleeding by assisting with the clotting process. Donors are connected to an apheresis machine that separates platelets and some plasma from the donor’s blood and returns the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor.

  • Platelets primarily are used to support patients with cancer, organ transplants and those undergoing cardiac surgery. Patients often require multiple transfusions of platelets.
  • The donation takes approximately 90 minutes.
  • You are eligible to donate platelets as often as every seven days and up to a maximum of 24 times a year.
  • Platelets have a shelf life of just five days after donation.

Suggested blood types for this type of donation include: AB+/AB-, A+/A-, B+/B- (why?

Plasma is the light yellow liquid in your blood that makes up 50 percent of your blood’s volume and contains proteins that help control bleeding and infection. Plasma is also collected using an apheresis machine.

  • Plasma is used to replace normal clotting factors to treat various types of bleeding disorders and for patients who have suffered major trauma.
  • The donation takes about 40 minutes.
  • You may donate plasma every 28 days.
  • Plasma can be stored frozen for one year.
  • Donors with Type AB blood are universal plasma donors. 
Double red cells

Suggested blood types for this type of donation include: O+/O-, B+/B- (why?

Red blood cells are the most commonly transfused blood component. Certain blood types, such as Group O, are often in short supply.  Double red cell donation is done with the help of an apheresis machine that collects the red cells and returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor.  

  • Donors must meet higher hemoglobin and body height-weight requirements to give a double red cell donation.
  • Donors may donate double red blood cells once every 16 weeks (112 days).
  • Double red cell donations take approximately 40 minutes.
  • Double red cell donations from Type O donors and donors with Rh-negative blood types play a crucial role in maintaining blood supply levels.

A Blood Donor Services representative will be able to assist you in identifying the best donation type for you based on your unique criteria and the current needs of the patient population.

Autologous donations

If you are donating blood for your own elective surgery we will need an order from your physician. Your physician must fax/send the order directly to Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Facility at 310-423-0174.  The last donation must be made at least five days before your scheduled surgical procedure. For more information please call 310-423-4170.

Directed donations

Friends and family members can donate blood for their loved ones. To arrange a directed donation, the patient's attending physician should contact Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Facility. Directed donations should be scheduled no later than seven working days prior to the patient's blood transfusion. For more information please call 310-423-2414. To schedule an appointment please call 310-423-4170.

If you already donated for a patient and want to know if you are a suitable donor for the intended recipient, please call 310-423-5417.