Double Red Cell Donation

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.

Minimum Requirements
For men, a donor must weigh at least 130 pounds and be at least 5'1" tall. For women, a donor must weigh at least 150 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.

Currently in the New England Region,the Double Red Cell Program is available only at the following Red Cross donor centers and at select Red Cross bloodmobiles. We invite you to call these locations if you live in the area and are interested in "making the most" out of your next blood donation.

Bangor Donor Center
900B Hammond St.
Bangor, ME 04401
(207) 941-2900 or 1-800-432-7376

Burlington Donor Center
32 North Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 658-6400

Manchester Donor Center
425 Reservoir Avenue
Manchester, NH 03104
(603) 625-1951

Portland Donor Center
524 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 775-2367