American Red Cross Greater Chesapeake & Potomac Blood Services Region
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Double Red Cell Donation

Double the Difference! 


The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region of the American Red Cross is proud to offer the opportunity to donate two units of red blood cells in one donation. Here's how it works.  


  • Those with types O+, O-, A-, and B- are needed for this special donation process. 
  • Special technology will be available at select community blood drives.  
  • Blood is collected from a donor's arm, just as it is in a standard whole blood donation.  
  • The difference with a double red cell donation is that a machine separates the red blood cells from other blood components, and returns the remaining components back to the donor.  
  • By doing this, the machine is able to double the amount of red cells it would normally collect in a standard blood donation.


Can you “Double the Difference?”   State-of-the-art technology recently acquired by the GC&P Region now allows eligible participants to do just that.  


While whole blood donors are eligible and encouraged to give every 56 days, those who donate using this new technology will be eligible every 112 days – ideal for those donors who have demanding professional and personal schedules, but who are also committed to continuously supporting the needs of patients in our local hospitals.   This means that double red cell donors may give the same amount of red cells three times per year, as they would if they were to donate whole blood six times per year.   Other donor benefits include the use of a smaller needle, as well as the return of plasma to the donor's bloodstream, which will ultimately send donors away feeling more hydrated than when they came in for their appointment.


There are some important differences that set this donation apart from a standard one.   First, the actual donation time is about 35 minutes, as opposed to 20 minutes for a standard whole blood donation.   Fewer donors will be able to donate double red cells, however, and therefore this donation may actually save you time.   The eligibility requirements are slightly different as well.   Refer to the chart below:

For more information about double red cell donation, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.