Who can donate platelets?
Anyone who is 18 years or above is allow to donate platelets. Please note: the first platelet donation must take place before the day of your 61st birthday and you need to have donated blood at least once before.
Over and above your 61th birthday, platelet donations are permitted only if your last donation occurred less than 3 years ago.
You need to be in good health and weigh at least 50 kg.
Whether or not you are suitable to donate blood will be established at a medical interview ahead of the donation.
This type of collection requires you to have “good veins”.
Where and when can you donate platelets?
You may donate platelets only at one of our permanent blood collection centres as this requires the use of specific equipment. You will find the dates/times, addresses and telephone on this page.
We also run a freephone number which you can call for any questions you may have: 0800 92 245.
How often can I give platelets?
We apply a waiting period of one month between 2 donations. A 2-week wait is an exception. The maximum number of platelet donations (including blood donations) is 24 per year (365 days).
Do I need to have a specific blood group in order to be allowed to donate platelets?
Only donors who either have blood group A or O are allowed to donate platelets.
In which kind of situations do you use the platelets donated?
The platelets are used:
- for patients who have had a transplant;
- for people who have cancer: the various chemotherapies are aggressive therapies that are taxing on the human body and cause the cancer cells to be destroyed at the same time as the temporary destruction of the platelets. To mitigate these toxic effects, we use platelet transfusions;
- to treat certain blood diseases.
Are the blood products safe?
We have a variety of different measures in place to ensure the utmost safety of all blood transfusions:
- Donations are voluntary and charitable;
- Prior to all donations, donors have a medical interview to ensure they are suitable to donate;
- All donations are biologically screened and tested;
- The plasma and the platelets derived from your donation are processed so as the reduce the possible presence of viruses or bacteria;
- Donors are asked to get back to us after the donation if they believe that transfusing their blood poses a risk;
In that case, their donation is discarded. If you are in doubt or if you believe there is a risk, please call us at 078 051 053.
Moreover, we have a quality system in place in order to control all procedures in connection with the activities of the Blood Service.
Are the criteria for platelet donations the same as those for blood donations?
Yes, but the doctor will check beforehand whether your platelet count is high enough and if you have not taken any anti-inflammatory medication recently.
Only donors who belong to blood groups A or O are invited to donate platelets.
Moreover, this type of collection requires “good veins”.
Before the donation
Do I need to make an appointment to donate platelets?
Yes you do! This technique requires the use of specific equipment. Which is why it is performed only at one of our permanent blood collection centres and by appointment.
Which documents do I need to bring for a platelet donation?
All you need is proof of identity carrying a photo.
Do I need to come in nil by mouth?
Quite the contrary! It is good to eat something before donating blood. However, it is best not to have a big meal so as not to oversaturate your blood with lipids (fat). It is also important that you are sufficiently hydrated (2-3 glasses of water) before donating platelets.
Can I donate platelets if I just got back from a trip?
It all depends on your destination. If you are back from a tropical destination, you will need to wait 6 months before you are allowed to donate platelets. In other cases, a 28-day wait may be required. For more details, please contact us at 0800 92 245 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the donation
Does a platelet donation take long?
The collection as such takes around 90 minutes. Factoring in the registration, the medical examination and the compulsory rest after your donation, you need to reckon with around 2 hours on average for your platelet donation.
Why do I need to fill in a medical questionnaire every time?
The questionnaire and the confidential medical interview enable us to determine whether or not the donor’s current health status allows him to donate platelets. This is in the interest of the donor himself and in the interest of the recipient. This is why the questionnaire includes questions on any illnesses or operations you may have had, foreign travel you may have undertaken, the possibility of any risky behaviour you may have displayed, etc.
It is crucial that you answer these questions correctly, truthfully and in detail so as to ensure the transfusion safety of the donor and of the patients who will be receiving the products derived from the donation.
Does it hurt, donating platelets?
You may experience a slight scratch when the syringe goes in. The actual blood drawing is painless.
In a few rare cases, it may be that you have a haematoma (a bruise) at the place where the needle went in. This is perfectly normal and does not have any lasting effects.
Can I contract a disease by donating platelets?
NO. There is no risk of contamination as we use sterile single-use materials (bags and needles) for every donation. Which means any risk of contamination can be ruled out.
After the donation
How long does it take the human body to replace the platelets collected?
A platelet donation does not cause any kind of deficit in the donor.
The loss of liquid is immediately compensated. The platelets are replenished in a matter of just a few days.
Are there any special rules for people who do sports?
Engaging in sports activities is permitted in moderation after you have given blood. However, we do advise waiting 12 hours for the following sports:
- cycling, hiking, swimming
- car sports, motorcycle racing
- all ‘violent’ sports, such as judo, boxing, wrestling, karate, rugby, American football, ice hockey...
We advise against giving blood within 24 hours before or after a competition or one of the following sports: rock climbing, hang gliding and paragliding, scuba diving, caving.
Are there any special rules for motorists?
Not particularly. The rest you take whilst having your refreshment is enough to get back behind the wheel, provided you feel fit.