Donation Types

Whole Blood Donations 

For a whole blood donation, about one pint of blood is collected and separated into its three components: plasma, platelets and red blood cells.

The value of a whole blood donation is that you help save three lives! Plasma is effective in treating burn or shock patients. Platelets can help patients with leukemia and other cancers. Red blood cells are often necessary to treat surgery patients, babies born prematurely and trauma victims. 

The entire donation process, from registration to post-donation refreshments, takes just under one hour, with the actual donation taking five to 10 minutes. You may donate whole blood every 56 days. 

Schedule your appointment to donate whole blood.

Automated Donations

Automated donations allow you to selectively donate the blood components that are needed most, with the remaining blood returned to you. You can donate double red cells, platelets or plasma with an automated donation. Depending on your blood type, the collections staff can tell you what donation type is most needed at the time of your donation.

Double Red Cells

A double red cell donation allows you to give twice the amount of red cells given in a whole blood donation. Red blood cells are the most-used blood component for surgery, trauma and treatment of blood disorders.

You may donate double red cells once every 112 days. There are special requirements for donating double red cells. If you are interested in making this type of donation, please talk to the collections staff to determine whether you are eligible.

Platelets

Platelets are a component of your blood that help control bleeding, and are often used to help patients with cancer. An automated platelet donation is equal to platelets derived from six whole blood donations. Since platelets only have a shelf life of five days, donors are needed continuously.

If you donate platelets, you may donate every seven days, up to 24 times per year. There is a three-day deferral period after taking aspirin to donate platelets.

Plasma

Plasma, the liquid portion of blood, transports red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (which control bleeding, fight infection and provide nutrients). Burn and trauma patients frequently are given plasma to replace fluid loss. Someone who receives many red cell transfusions may require plasma as well to maintain blood clotting. Plasma is also transfused to some patients with bleeding or clotting disorders.

After donating plasma, you may give plasma again after 28 days, whole blood after one month or platelets after 72 hours.

Autologous and Directed Donations

Autologous blood transfusion is a procedure in which you are transfused with blood that you have donated only for yourself.

Directed blood transfusion is a procedure in which the patient is transfused with blood specifically donated for the patient by a friend or family member, with a doctor's orders.

To become an autologous or directed blood donor, a written order must be faxed to The Blood Center's Autologous and Directed Program at (713) 791-6607. Your physician can obtain a Request for Autologous/Directed Donation form by calling (713) 791-6608 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or download it here. It is the responsibility of the donor to make sure the written order is sent to The Blood Center by the physician.

Autologous and directed donations can be made at any Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center facility. You must call the location to schedule an appointment for your donation. Autologous blood donations are not accepted at mobile blood drives. An additional fee is charged for each pint drawn to cover extra processing and administrative costs. These fees are charged to the hospital and will be included in your hospital bill.

Effective June 16, 2015, autologous donors must have a hematocrit level of at least 38 percent. The deferral period for donors with low hematocrit is 30 days to give donors ample time to increase their hematocrit levels by regularly eating iron-rich foods and incorporating an iron supplement into their routines. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be charged for direct donations if the donors are not compatible?

No, if your donors are not compatible there is no charge. But if we are not provided with the patient's blood type, then we send every donation to the hospital. After the hospital cross-match is done and it is concluded that the donation is incompatible, then there is only the direct fee of $26.

Why does my blood expire sooner if I am a blood relative?

If you are a blood relative, your donation will have to be irradiated to avoid graft versus host disease. In this instance, the 42-day expiration is reduced to 28 days.

Why do I have to pay for my own blood?

The charges assessed with an autologous donation are for testing and processing, and service fees.

Do you ship blood internationally?

No, clearing the blood units through customs is very difficult. We cannot regulate the blood temperature once it leaves the center.

Why do I need doctor's orders before donating autologous or direct units?

We must have a doctor's request in order to make sure we have all the proper information for the patient and to make sure the doctor has authorized the patient to give an autologous donation.

If I'm having surgery out of town, can I donate here and have it shipped? And at what cost?

Yes, you may donate with a physician's request at any Neighborhood Donor Center. But all units must be prepaid before any donations are made. This fee varies depending on how many units your physician wants. It includes testing and processing fees, autologous and/or directed fees, and shipping and handling.

Why can't I know the names of or other information about my direct donors?

All information is kept strictly confidential in accordance with HIPAA regulations.

If I don't use my autologous donation, why can't it be released for someone else?

Autologous donations are not drawn under the same criteria as a regular whole blood unit. Some physicians will allow autologous donors to donate who otherwise would not qualify to donate for the general public. Therefore, these units cannot be released for someone else.

Therapeutic Phlebotomy

If you have polycythemia or porphyria cutanea tarda and are required to have blood drawn as a form of treatment, you may come to any Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center facility for the procedure.

With the exception of approved hemochromatosis and testosterone replacement therapy donors, therapeutic patients will only be drawn on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The therapeutic request form must be completed by your doctor and faxed to (713) 790-1782 at least 72 hours prior to the first collection to allow time for review, Medical Director approval and data entry. Incomplete or illegible orders will not be accepted. There is no charge for each phlebotomy.

Download the therapeutic phlebotomy request.

 

Hemochromatosis and Testosterone Replacement Therapy Donors

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has been granted variances from the Food and Drug Administration that allow The Blood Center to draw blood to be used for transfusion purposes from individuals diagnosed with hereditary hemochromatosis, and men taking hormone replacement therapy (testosterone). Previously, blood collected from these patients was drawn only as therapeutic phlebotomy and was destroyed.

Now, blood collected from individuals who have hereditary hemochromatosis or who are taking testosterone replacement therapy, who meet all suitability requirements for allogeneic blood donations, will be labeled as suitable for transfusion. The minimum hematocrit allowed for transfusion purposes is 38 percent. Blood donations from donors who do not meet the current suitability requirements or require a hematocrit of less than 38 percent will be labeled as therapeutic phlebotomies and discarded. Hereditary hemochromatosis donors and donors taking testosterone will be allowed to donate blood more often than every eight weeks, and their blood will be used for transfusion if suitable. All donations from these individuals qualify to earn Commit for Life points.

There is no fee for phlebotomies performed on these individuals whether or not they meet requirements to be allogeneic donors. We will continue to require a therapeutic phlebotomy request form to be completed by your doctor and kept on file with The Blood Center. Download the therapeutic phlebotomy request, ask your doctor to complete the form and fax to The Blood Center at (713) 791-6603.

Blood Center News
August 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the August edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

July 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

June 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the June edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Hematocrit Deferral Period Extended

Having a low hematocrit level is one of the most common reasons individuals are deferred from donating blood.

May 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the May edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

2015 Commit for Life Scholarship Winners

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has selected the winners of its Commit for Life Creative Scholarship. 

Celebrating our Volunteers

On Saturday, April 18, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch recognized our hardworking and dedicated Commit for Life volunteers.

April 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the April edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

March 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the March edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

2015 Luncheon and Awards Ceremony

Gold-level blood drive groups – those that host at least four drives per year – were honored at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s annual “A Celebration of Life” Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Feb. 12, 2015 at the Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria. 

February 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Roll the Dice for Life

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Marrow Donor Program hosted its 17th annual Roll the Dice for Life fundraiser Friday, Feb. 6, at The Bell Tower on 34th.

January 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the January edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Patrick McDonald is 26th 100-Gallon Donor

On Wednesday, Jan. 14, Patrick McDonald of Deer Park became the 26th blood donor in the Texas Gulf Coast region to give 800 donations, the equivalent of 100 gallons.

December Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the December edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

November Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the November edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Workshop Prepares Students to Host Blood Drives

Last week, 180 local high school students took over the halls and conference rooms of Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s headquarters for the 2014 High School Workshop.

October Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the October edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Circle of Life Bike Tour Rides into Houston

The Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour rode into Houston on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, to raise awareness of the need for more lifesaving blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donors in Texas. 

September Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the September edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

August Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the August edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Congratulations to Our Gas Card Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in July’s gas card giveaway and congratulations to our winners. Here are last month’s winners and where they donated.

July Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Congratulations to our Family Vacation Month Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in June’s Family Vacation Month giveaway and congratulations to our winners.

June Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the June edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

New License Expands Impact on Rare Donor Patients

Thanks to a recently approved FDA license, patients across the country in need of rare units of red blood cells may breathe a little sigh of relief. 

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Gives Back

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center serves more than 170 hospitals and health care institutions in the 26-county Texas Gulf Coast, Brazos Valley and East Texas regions. 

May Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the May edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Commit for Life Creative Scholarship Winners

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has selected the winners of its Commit for Life Creative Scholarship. 

April Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the April edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

New Rare Donor Program: One 2 One

You may have recently received a letter in the mail from us thanking you for your donation along with a new green and white donor ID card with the words “One 2 One” on it.

March Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the March edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Gold-level Groups Honored at Annual 'Celebration'

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center hosted its annual “A Celebration for Life” luncheon and awards ceremony at Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel on Feb. 28.

February Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Six Days a Week to Help Save Lives!

Starting Feb. 17, most Houston-area Neighborhood Donor Centers will be open six days a week!

Creative Scholarship Deadline is March 1

The deadline for The Blood Center’s Commit for Life Creative Scholarship is rapidly approaching, and eligible high school seniors are encouraged to apply by March 1!

January Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the January edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Additional Donor Centers Now Open Mondays

Beginning Monday, Jan. 6, donors in the Clear LakeThe Woodlands and Westchase areas will have extra opportunities to help save lives! These Neighborhood Donor Centers will now be open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Meet the Executives

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s executive team spearheads the organization’s mission of partnering with the community to help save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related service. Meet the dynamic men and women who drive The Blood Center’s continued success.

123
Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
1400 La Concha Lane
Houston, TX 77054

© Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center - Houston, Texas. All rights reserved. Powered by ContentActive