The Australian Red Cross Blood Service collects blood from voluntary donors following guidelines based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, Council of Europe, International Society of Blood Transfusion, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Donors visit fixed and mobile collection centres across Australia. Blood is collected by either whole blood donation or apheresis donation of plasma or platelets.
Whole blood donations may be given safely every 12 weeks.
The donations are collected into a closed set of sterile blood packs with varying configurations depending on inventory requirements and donation history.
Approximately 470 mL of donor blood is collected via aseptic venepuncture into the primary blood pack with the first 30 mL being diverted to sample tubes for laboratory testing.
The donation is collected over 5–15 minutes.
The appointment takes around one hour which includes registration, interview, as well as rest and refreshment time after the donation has finished.
Apheresis donor platelets and plasma is collected in a sterile closed system using an automated cell separating machine.
This process removes the donor blood, separates and collects the platelets or plasma (depending on the type of donation) and returns the rest of the blood to the donor.
Apheresis plasma collection
A plasma donation can be up to 800 mL depending on the donor. The first 30 mL is drawn into sample tubes for testing.
The donation is collected over 45 minutes. The entire donation process including registration, interview and refreshment time after donations usually takes around 1.5 hours.
The cell separator also infuses 500 mL of saline (salt) solution to the donor, to aid in the replacement of fluid.
Apheresis plasma can be collected every 2 weeks.
Apheresis platelet collection
Approximately 650 mL is donated by the donor during a platelet donation. This comprises of platelets and around 300 mL of plasma. The first 30 mL is drawn into sample tubes for testing.
The donation is collected over 60–80 minutes. The entire donation process including registration, interview and refreshment time after donations usually takes around 1.5 hours.
Apheresis platelet donations can be collected at either two or four weekly intervals depending on the donor.