Each year, millions of Quebec children and adults need a blood transfusion. The blood comes from donors, because there is no synthetic product available yet to replace human blood.
Donor generosity is therefore essential to ensure an adequate supply to fill the needs of our hospitals. At the moment, however, these life-saving donations come from only 3 percent of the eligible Quebec population… A figure you could perhaps help increase?
Who can give blood?
Héma-Québec has established numerous strict criteria in order to ensure that it receives high-quality blood. Despite that, most healthy individuals can give blood and even persons with chronic illnesses can do so, as long as their disease is well controlled and they don’t take any medication that poses a problem for blood donation (e.g. anticoagulants, insulin). For more information on these criteria, visit www.hema-quebec.qc.ca.
What is collected during a blood donation?
There are many types of donation, the most common being whole-blood donation. This is the classic type of donation taken at blood drives. In this situation, just under a half-litre of blood is taken and then transformed by Héma-Québec into various sub-products, since transfusions do not use whole blood. Donors can give blood every 56 days.
Donating by apheresis makes it possible to collect only certain components of the blood. Depending on donor characteristics, the process may only collect plasma, platelets or red blood cells. This type of donation is very helpful because it meets the specific needs of sick or injured individuals. They also make it possible to make a larger donation, since only certain components are taken. For example, donating plasma by apheresis provides a litre of plasma, whereas a whole-blood donation would provide only about 250 ml of plasma. In addition, donors can make a donation every 6 days with plasma, every 14 days with platelets, and every 112 days with red blood cells.
Because donating by apheresis requires a special machine, these donations can only be done at Héma-Québec’s Globule donation centres. These donations are by appointment only and take approximately an hour, including the initial meeting with a nurse beforehand.
Do you sometimes give blood, but other times skip your turn because the process is too long? Then make an appointment with your nearest Globule centre! You will be able to make your donation at a time that’s convenient for you, and if you’re eligible for a donation by apheresis, your donation could be even more precious to the recipient.
If you’ve never yet given blood, visit a Globule centre. The staff will explain the whole process to you and you’ll see that this small gesture is much simpler that you may think.
If you aren’t eligible to give blood, consider becoming a volunteer with Héma-Québec and encourage your friends and family to make a donation!