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Apheresis - what is it?

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Apheresis (pronounced ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special process by which donations of plasma only or platelet only can be made.

  • As the process involves returning red cells to donors at the time of donation, plasma or platelet donations can be made more frequently – every 2-3 weeks.
  • Each time you make an apheresis donation you are able to donate a larger volume meaning you have the potential to assist more people.
  • While platelets or plasma can be collected from whole blood donations, the apheresis process involves collecting the platelets or plasma using a special cell separator or apheresis machine.
  • The machine spins the blood to separate the platelets or plasma from the other blood components in a cell separator, and the other components are returned to the donor through another line.
  • Inside the cell separator is a closed, sterile system of plastic bags and tubing that is used only once and then disposed of after use.
  • The process is repeated until enough platelets or plasma is collected, which usually takes about an hour. You can sit back in comfort through the procedure and read a book or just relax.
  • You are under no obligation to continue as an apheresis donor and you can return to donating whole blood at any time.

Interested in making a plasma or platelet donation?

  • For full details on eligibility criteria check the FAQs.
  • Find out if your nearest donor centre has facilities for plasma or platelet donations.
  • Make an appointment online or call 13 14 95.