Since I fit the profile, I am eligible to give a "Double Red" donation by a process called Apheresis. That means I get hooked up to a cool-looking machine to process my double-donation of red blood cells instead of the classic whole-blood donation method. For women, the requirement is that you must be at least 5'5" tall and 175#. For men to give a double, they must be at least 5'1" and 150#. You can generally give whole blood if you are over 110# and in good health.
Giving a double is great for me because:
* I don't have to give blood as often, since each donation counts as 2 times
* On top of getting your plasma back during the donation process, they give you a whole liter of saline, which is like a free spa-treatment for your blood! Talk about instant hydration, you just got some of your daily water requirement in!
* Giving blood is the best way to *spark* your body into making fresh blood for you!
* Most importantly, I know the two units of pure, separated red blood cells get shuttled away ASAP to help someone who needs them. A nurse once told me that it is very likely for double donations to be used within a few HOURS! Wow!
I am going in for my 4th Double Red donation on Jan. 22nd! It will likely be my last due to losing weight, so I will just switch back to whole-blood traditional donation after that!
Here is some information from the American Red Cross Blood Services - New England Region:
Double Your Donation
Imagine being able to double your contribution for just a little more investment in time. That's what the Double Red Cell Program is all about. Through the latest in automated technology, the American Red Cross now has the ability to collect two units of red blood cells from a single donor who meets all eligibility requirements.
For men, a donor must weigh at least 150 pounds and be at least 5'1" tall. For women, a donor must weigh at least 175 pounds and be at least 5'5" tall.
To ensure that a safe amount of blood is collected, all blood donations, whether Whole Blood or Apheresis procedures, have a minimum weight requirement. Roughly 220 milliliters of red cells are collected from Whole Blood donors and 360 milliliters of red cells are taken during a 2 unit red cell apheresis donation. To ensure that a 2 unit red cell donor has an adequate amount of red cells to safely participate in the donation procedure, more stringent height, weight, and iron requirements have been defined. While other factors play a part, the total amount of blood we have is primarily determined by our height and weight, also known as body mass. Gender plays a role as well. Recent studies with patients undergoing open-heart surgery show that even with similar heights and weights, women have lower blood volumes than men. Therefore, higher height and weight requirements were set for women to compensate for their lower blood volume and to ensure a safe blood donation.
Advantages for Donors
There are many advantages to the Double Red Cell collection program, both for the donor and for the patient. A double red cell donation takes about 45 minutes to complete, compared to about 10 minutes for a regular blood donation. However, the waiting period between donations is 16 weeks, rather than 8 weeks for a regular donation. This makes the Double Red Cell Program ideal for donors who cannot routinely give blood every eight weeks, but like to give blood once or twice a year. They can give the same number of blood products with only half the number of trips to the blood center.
Benefits for Patients
Patients also benefit from a double red cell product by receiving two units from the same donor, reducing exposure to multiple donors which can sometimes cause post-transfusion complications.
A Boost to the Blood Supply
The final advantage is to the blood supply. Red Cross often has shortages of certain types of red blood cells, especially type O and type B. Double red cell collections allow us to get two red blood cells from an O or B donor, greatly incresing our ability to supply hospital and patient needs for these types. And in areas where the donor population is limited, this technology allows us to maximize the impact of donations made.
Double Red Info plus donor center info for Maine, VT, and Mass. folks:www.newenglandblood.org/double.htm
Other links:www.redcross.org/donate/give/ https://www.givelife.org/
Please post any questions or comments!
Best wishes! ~ Krista
IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME!
Well begun is half done. - Aristotle
Team Co-Leader: Give Blood - The Gift of Life
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