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How Much Blood Is Taken When You Donate?

Dan Eberts
August 17, 2021

Your blood is comprised of 55% Plasma, 44% Red Blood Cells, and 1% White Blood Cells and Platelets. The volume of the components given varies by donation type.

So how much blood is taken when you donate for others in need?

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Whole Blood

The average adult has around five liters of blood in their body. When you donate whole blood (the traditional donation method) the target is to collect 500ml, but a minimum of 460ml is taken due to dosage requirements and necessary anticoagulant additive mix proportions.

This volume represents approximately 10% of a donor’s blood supply.

A donor’s total blood volume is determined by their height, weight, and gender.

Donors with Type O, A Negative, B Negative blood with a larger blood volume can target their type and give more of their best gift in one visit by giving a double red cell donation.

With this method, whole blood is drawn from the arm, spun down in a bedside cell separator, and then the platelets and plasma are returned to the body.

Double red cell donation also produces two perfectly matched 250ml units of their red blood cells.


A normal platelet count for adults ranges between 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter.

The number of platelets that can be donated during one automated platelet donation is also determined by a ratio of blood volume and platelet count.

These factors are programmed into the bedside computer and then up to three doses of platelets can be given. 200-400ml of plasma is also collected to sustain the platelets.

Donors with blood types AB, O, A, and B positive are encouraged to donate platelets for patients in need. 

Donors who qualify may give whole blood as often as every 8 weeks, double red cells every 16 weeks, and platelets every 7 days.

Whatever way you choose to give, know that you are helping patients by giving them a second chance at life!

Dan Eberts The Blood Man

Dan Eberts

Dan “the Blood Man” Eberts worked in the blood collection PR industry for over 30-years. Dan was a regular speaker at many industry conferences and often spoke at community events about the importance of giving blood. Dan, although retired, still comes back to OneBlood for tours of the donation and lab facilities.

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