Frequently Asked Questions

What are platelets?

Platelets are the clotting agents of the blood, which help to control bleeding.

Am I qualified to donate platelets?

Before your first donation with us, a recruiter from the Kraft Center will conduct a brief pre-screening to determine your eligibility. In general, to donate platelets you must be:

  • At least 17 years old
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be in good general health
  • Are free of the following for 48 hours prior to donating:
    • Aspirin or products containing aspirin (e.g., ibuprofen, Advil, naproxen, Motrin, Aleve)
    • Feldene (piroxicam)
    • Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate)
    • Antibiotics and/or
    • Dental cleaning.

You can also visit Donating Platelets for more information about eligibility.

What happens to my platelets after I donate?

On a daily basis, cancer patients, trauma victims and transplant recipients are only a few of the many patients who depend on volunteer platelet donors. Our program transfuses more than 8,000 units of platelets annually.

How frequently can I donate?

You can donate platelets about once every two weeks (up to 24 times a year).

What happens during the donation?

Before you donate, a recruiter from the Kraft Center will conduct a brief pre-screening to determine your general eligibility. You will be asked basic questions about your medical and travel history.

Platelets are collected by a procedure called apheresis (a-fer-EE-sis). During this process, a machine — collecting blood from one arm — separates your platelets from the other blood components, which are returned to you. Donating platelets takes about 90 minutes.

After the donation you will enjoy a refreshment and brief period of relaxation before returning to your normal daily activities.

How can I prepare to donate platelets?

Before your donation, make sure to have something to eat and drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids.

What should I bring when I donate?

On the day of the donation, please bring:

  • Valid photo ID
  • List of any medications you are currently taking
  • List of areas traveled to outside of the US

How long will it take to donate?

The actual donation takes about 90 minutes, although this varies from person to person. Plan on additional time for the pre-screening and post-donation relaxation and refreshment. In total, allow about two hours.

Does it hurt to donate?

Most people will say they only feel a slight pinch of the needle at the start of the donation. Many people also report feeling great after donating because they know they've helped patients in need.

Are donated platelets stored?

Platelets have a shelf life of only five days from the time they are collected to when they are transfused. Platelet donors are always needed to keep up a constant supply.