Central Blood Bank


Double red graphicDid you know you can double your impact with a double red blood cell donation?

What is a double red donation?

A double red donation means you give two units of red blood cells. During a regular whole blood donation, one unit of red blood cells is removed.

Double red donations make it possible for you to help two patients. Or, sometimes it’s better for a patient to receive multiple transfusions from the same donor.

Common reasons people need multiple red blood cell transfusions include cancer treatment, sickle cell anemia treatment and surgery.

How do I donate double red cells?

A special machine removes red blood cells and plasma, and the rest is immediately returned, along with saline solution to replace the volume of liquid lost.

The health screening and donation prep are the same for double reds as for a whole blood donation. The double red donation process takes about 15 to 20 minutes longer than a regular donation.

Will a double red donation make me tired since they are taking more red blood cells?

Donors often find that a double red cell donation is more comfortable than a whole blood donation. The total volume lost is less than what is lost during a whole blood donation.

The procedure uses a smaller needle, and the fluid that replaces your red cells hydrates you and reduces the risk of a reaction.

Am I eligible to donate double red cells?

Double red cell donors must meet these requirements:

  • Be in good health
  • Be at least 16 years old (16- and 17-year-olds require parental consent)
  • Men must be at least 5’1” and weigh at least 130 lbs.
  • Women must be at least 5’5” and weigh 150 lbs.

*Download the parental consent form in English or Spanish (will open as a .pdf).

Because there is a special process involved with donating double red blood cells, Central Blood Bank collects double red blood cells at targeted mobile blood drives and at specific community donor centers:

Armstrong County Memorial Hospital
Beaver Monroeville
Butler Moon Township
Crawford County North Hills
Downtown Pittsburgh
Peters Township
Green Tree South Hills
Greensburg St. Clair Hospital
Grove City Weirton
Harmar/Fox Chapel Area