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What are double red cells?

Blood is made up of three basic components: red cells, plasma, and platelets. Double red cells are two units of only red cells.

How are double red cells collected?

Through a single sterile needle, some of your whole blood is removed and passed through a cell separator. The whole blood is separated into red blood cells and plasma/platelets. The red cells are then drawn into collection bags, while the cell separator returns the plasma/platelet product and saline solution to the donor. The saline solution provides volume replacement to replace the volume of blood lost by the donor.

Why donate double red cells?

  • In approximately 45 minutes, you are able to donate two products in one visit.
  • Provide a better product for the recipient as it reduces patient transfusion risk by reducing the number of donor exposures.
  • 112-day deferral time between donations results in fewer phone calls and/or emails asking you to donate: longer deferral time between donations means fewer trips to the Blood Donor Center, saving you time and gas.
  • Lower total blood volume loss because you receive plasma/platelet and saline solution back. You leave more hydrated!
  • Smaller needle.
  • Universal donors with type O blood are encouraged to try a double red cell donation.

Am I eligible to donate double red cells?

  • Qualifications for females: At least 5-foot-3, at least 150 lbs., iron level of 40% or 13.3
  • Qualifications for males: At least 5-foot-1, at least 130 lbs., iron level of 40% or 13.3

How do I prepare?

On the day of donation:

  • Make sure you are well hydrated.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy meal prior to donating.
  • Bring a photo ID with you.

To make an appointment to donate, please visit