Types of Blood Donations

Whether you give blood, platelets, or plasma, your donation has a lifesaving impact for patients in your community.

Whole Blood

Giving whole blood is the most common blood donation. You can give whole blood at all our locations and drives.


“Whole blood” means your donation includes everything in your bloodstream: red blood cells, platelets and plasma.


Your donation can save up to three lives and is used for a wide range of patient care, including trauma, cancer treatments, caring for moms and their newborns, and more.

Donation time: About 10 minutes.
How often you can donate: Every 56 days.


Platelets are cells that help stop bleeding.

Platelet donation is an automated donation where your blood is passed through a device that takes out the platelet cells and returns the rest to you. You shouldn’t take aspirin or ibuprofen for two days before you donate, since they can make platelets less effective.


Most platelets have a shelf life of five days, and they are constantly needed. Patients who have traumatic injuries need platelets, as well as those undergoing cancer treatments and transplants.

Donation time: Between 90-120 minutes.
How often you can donate: Every 7 days, with a maximum of 24 times a year.
Female donors: If you have had a child, you must be tested for human leukocyte antigens (HLA) before you can give platelets. The presence of HLA can cause a reaction in some patients. HLA testing is done with any other type of donation.

Dual Red Blood Cell

Dual red cell donation means you give just red cells. Your blood passes through a device that takes out the red cells and returns all the other parts of your blood back to you.


More than 60% of blood transfusions are red blood cells only, and they are vital components for surgeries.


Male donors must weigh at least 130 pounds and be at least 5-foot-1. Female donors must weigh at least 150 pounds and be at least 5-foot-3.

Donation time: Between 60-120 minutes.
How often you can donate: Commonly, every 112 days.

Convalescent Plasma

We’re participating in a Food and Drug Administration investigational program for blood centers to begin collecting and distributing what is known as convalescent plasma, donated by individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

While COVID-19 currently has no proven treatment, it is possible that convalescent plasma, which contains antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19, may provide passive immunity to certain patients with severe forms of the illness.

With a typical donation, you can help up to three patients, and you can donate up to twice a week.

Potential donors must be completely free of symptoms for 14 days prior to donation.

Recovered patients who meet these criteria, along with all FDA requirements for blood and plasma donation, can contact us about participating by clicking below.

A team member will contact you in 24 to 48 hours. If you have any questions, please call 210-731-2719 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. All appointments must be made by phone and donations are made at our Donor Pavilion, Shavano, Northeast, Southeast, Westover Hills, New Braunfels and Victoria locations.

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is the only organization in San Antonio, New Braunfels and Victoria collecting plasma that goes directly to hospital patients fighting COVID-19.

Donating is a safe, essential action. For information about our safety protocols, click here.

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About Us

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For more than 45 years, the nonprofit South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has focused on a critical purpose: to save and improve lives.

Inspired by a group of physicians, our organization was formed to provide blood to the South Texas region – ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply through proper testing, storage and distribution to hospitals. This essential service allows front-line workers to focus on the direct care of patients, with confidence that this lifesaving resource will be there when it’s needed most.

But we didn’t stop there. Over the years, we’ve evolved as the needs of our patients and hospitals have changed, driven to save lives in as many ways as possible.

We couldn’t do this without donors like you. We understand that the gift of donation is a personal, powerful choice that has the potential to touch a life. Today, we offer many ways to make a difference that include:

Our team has also expanded its programs, partnering with leaders within the healthcare industry to develop a wide range of therapies. We’ve recently developed programs to collect and distribute COVID-19 convalescent plasma, as well as improve trauma care.