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The Blood Service collects blood from voluntary donors following guidelines based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, 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 donation
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.
The donation is collected over 5–10 minutes with the first 30 mL being diverted into sample tubes for laboratory testing.
The appointment takes around 40 minutes including registration and interview time, as well as rest and refreshment time after the donation has finished.
The Blood Service collects apheresis donor platelets and/or plasma in a sterile closed system using an automated machine.
This process removes the donor blood, separates and collects the platelets and/or processing and returns the rest of the blood to the donor.
A plasma donation can be up to 800 mL depending on the donor.
The donation is collected over 45–60 minutes with the first 30 mL drawn into sample tubes for testing.
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 donations average 650 mL, containing platelets and about 300 mL of plasma.
The donation is collected over 60–110 minutes with the first 30 mL drawn into sample tubes for testing.
Apheresis platelet donations can be collected at either two or four weekly intervals depending on the donor.
Viral testing of donor blood
Blood Service laboratories perform a range of tests on all donations for the following reasons:
To allow appropriate selection of blood for transfusion (eg, permitting ABO compatibility between donor and recipient)
To minimise or prevent adverse consequences of transfusion (eg, preventing transmission of infections in transfusion recipients)
Mandatory testing consists of:
ABO and Rh(D) blood groups
Red cell antibody screening
Viral screening for:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 1 and 2 antibodies and HIV 1 RNA
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) surface antigen and HBV DNA
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antibodies and HCV RNA
All platelet donations are screened for bacterial contamination 24 hours post collection.
When required, additional donor testing is performed, including confirmatory testing, CMV screening and malarial antibody screening.
The Blood Service has strict guidelines and standard operating procedures for these tests which are all performed in TGA licensed facilities accredited for good laboratory and manufacturing practices.
We check test results before blood components are released for clinical use or further manufacture.
If a screening test for infectious disease is confirmed reactive, and the donation is destroyed, and we notify and counsel the donor as part of Blood Service procedure.
Once donor selection criteria have been met, mandatory viral screening is non-reactive, blood grouping results have been confirmed, red cell antibody screening is complete and product quality is acceptable as per defined component specifications, components are labelled for release and made available in stock inventory.