What happens to my blood donation?

August 26, 2019

One frequent question we get asked at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center on a regular basis is “What happens to my donation?”

If you make a whole blood donation – the most common type – your blood is separated into three components: red cells, platelets and plasma. Each are used by doctors for different treatments. You also can donate just platelets or red cells.

Following guidance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all donations are tested for infectious agents like HIV and hepatitis C by QualTex Laboratories, which like STBTC is a subsidiary of BioBridge Global. In its most recent survey of blood collections and transfusions, the AABB (the blood banks’ trade association) reported that only 0.7% of donations were rejected because of positive test results for infectious diseases.

Once red cells and platelets are cleared and delivered to the hospital, the blood helps hospitals with cancer patients, moms and newborns, accident victims and many other patients.

Here’s a breakdown of how red cells are used, according to the AABB survey:

  • 28.5%: General medicine
  • 19.9%: Surgery
  • 19.2%: Cancer treatment
  • 12.5%: Intensive care unit
  • 9.5%: Emergency room
  • 4.3%: Pediatrics
  • 2.3%: Kidney treatment
  • 2.2%: Obstetrics and gynecology
  • 1.6%: Organ transplants

And here’s how platelets are used:

  • 43.6%: Cancer treatment
  • 15.9%: Surgery
  • 13.0%: Intensive care unit
  • 12.8%: General medicine
  • 7.9%: Pediatrics
  • 3.4%: Emergency room
  • 2.4%: Organ transplants
  • 0.5%: Obstetrics and gynecology
  • 0.3%: Kidney treatment

More from our blog:

Blood is life across armed borders

Study looks at using magnets to aid with stem cell therapy

IRL committed to healthcare through special testing