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What Can I Donate?

Did you know there's more than one way to donate blood? Read below to find out about the different types of blood donations!

Whole Blood

Healthy individuals who weigh at least 110 pounds and are 17 years and older, or are 16 years old with a Shepeard Blood Center signed parental consent form, may donate with Shepeard. Female donors must have a minimum hematocrit (iron level) of 38. Male donors must have a minimum hematocrit of 39.

A Word About Iron

Hematocrit represents the red cell percentage of blood. It is about 3 times the hemoglobin level. For example, a hematocrit of 45 will be on par with a hemoglobin of 15. Either hemoglobin or hematocrit can be used to qualify blood donors. The number will be dramatically different, but a healthy donor will usually have a hematocrit between 37.5% and 50%. If you have been deferred due to low iron in the past, you may still be able to donate blood now! Your iron level goes up and down depending on what you eat and your individual body needs. We urge you to eat iron rich foods consistently for a few weeks and attempt to donate again. The conversion chart below may help you understand the hematocrit and hemoglobin reading translations.

Hematocrit 39 42 45 48 51
Hemoglobin 13 15 15 16 17

Automated or Pheresis Donation

A special method of automated donation, known as apheresis or pheresis donation allows you to provide critically ill patients with specific blood components needed for healing. Depending on patient needs, Shepeard collects platelets, plasma, or double red cells from pheresis donors using an automated system. During your automated donation, your blood is immediately separated into components by an automated blood collection system. Automated donation takes longer than whole blood donation but our pheresis donors don't mind as they enjoy the amenities of our donation centers including: taking advantage of our free wi-fi, use of our free iPads, enjoying cable TV, or simply chatting with other donors and staff. If you're interested in donating an Automated Donation, please contact Melinda Woodell at: (706) 737-4551 or mwoodell@shepeardblood.org.

Platelets

Platelets are used to treat patients with cancer, severe burns, blood diseases, and other conditions that require the body to clot blood. Platelets can be separated from a whole blood donation or collected as part of an automated procedure. Platelets promote clotting, and because they only have a shelf life of five days, platelets are constantly needed. If your blood type is A+, your donation is most needed in the form of platelets, and you can donate every two weeks at our donation centers. Your platelet donation, when given via our automated system, allows you to donate enough platelets for a complete patient dose.

Donating platelets takes more time than donating whole blood but our platelet donors say the time goes fast as they relax at our comfortable centers. It takes between 6 and 10 whole blood donations to collect enough platelets to make one dose that can be donated by an individual in less than two hours.

Plasma

Plasma is the watery fluid that that transports cells. Plasma transfusions replace lost blood volume, help maintain blood pressure, and assist in clotting. Plasma can be separated from a whole blood donation or collected as part of an automated procedure. Plasma can be frozen for up to a year and thawed for transfusion use or in the manufacturing of vaccines and other life-saving pharmaceutical products. If your blood type is AB, your donation of plasma, in conjunction with platelets, is most needed. You can donate plasma with Shepeard once a month.

A Word About Donating Plasma With Shepeard:

When you donate plasma with Shepeard, your donation does the most good. This is because paid plasma donations are rarely, if ever, transfused into in hospital patients. Shepeard is the only provider of blood and blood products to over 20 local hospitals and three emergency helicopter services for the state of Georgia - right here where we all live and work.

The Food and Drug Administration requires that blood bags are labeled either "paid" or "volunteer" because a volunteer blood donation is considered to have a lower risk than a paid blood donation. Shepeard, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit serving local hospitals for nearly 40 years, is licensed for volunteer blood donations only. Medical teams in our area transfuse volunteer blood into patients. You can donate plasma every four weeks. Contact Melinda Woodell at: (706) 737-4551 or mwoodell@shepearblood.org.

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Blood Type Breakdown

Blood Type % of US Population Can give to Can receive from
O+ 39% O+, A+, B+, AB+ O+, O-
O- 9% All types O-
A+ 31% A+, AB+ O+, O-, A+, A-
A- 6% A+, A-, AB+, AB- A-, O-
B+ 9% B+, AB+ O+, O-, B+, B-
B- 2% B+, B-, AB+, AB- B-, O-
AB+ 3% AB+ All Types
AB- 1% AB+, AB- O-, A-, B-, AB-

Jane Flanders, a recipient of two units of blood during her surgery, recommends "Those of you who can, to go to a blood center, whether it be Shepeard, GRU or any other center and give that gift of life. I will be forever grateful to those who took the time to donate so that I could recover from my surgery and continue my journey."

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Jane Flanders - Blood Donor & Recipient

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    Donating with Shepeard

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