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Types of Donations

Canadian Blood Services is responsible for recruiting blood and bone marrow donors, as well as collecting blood, plasma, and platelets at 41 permanent collection sites and more than 19,000 donor clinics annually.

Canadian Blood Services collects whole blood. Whole blood is comprised of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Some donations are held and transfused as whole blood, others are processed to separate red blood cells and plasma.

All whole blood donations undergo leukoreduction, a process whereby white blood cells are removed. White blood cells often carry viruses and bacteria that can be detrimental to the recovery of the recipient.

Some donors donate plasma through a process called plasmapheresis. The donor’s blood is processed through an apheresis machine that extracts only the plasma and returns the rest of the blood to the donor. Plasma may be transfused into a patient or further processed into other products.

Platelets can be donated through a process called plateletpheresis. The donor’s blood is processed through an apheresis machine, much like in a plasma donation. In this case, only the platelets are collected and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor. All main Canadian Blood Services donor clinics have a plateletpheresis program. Because the plateletpheresis programs differ from location to location, if you are interested in becoming a platelet donor, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) during regular business hours and select option "1" from the automated voice system to speak to a member of our medical staff.

In managing the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, Canadian Blood Services also collects blood samples for donors who wish to join. Canadian Blood Services records the specific proteins that make an individual’s stem cells unique. This information is used to match donors with patients who need stem cell transplants.

Would you like to become a donor?


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