I’m somewhat of a regular blood donor. Although 2017 was a bit of a wash with my iron levels dropping below minimum to donate. However, I went on the 16th to donate and was eligible to do a double red blood cell donation with an apheresis machine.
So basically, what happens is that it takes a little longer than a regular whole blood donation, but it’s touted as more beneficial for both the donor and recepient.
I couldn’t find much info to back this claim back, but I’ll take their word for it. I’ll assume that they have no reason to lie to me.
So this apheresis machine starts taking your blood and separates it into platelets, plasma, and red blood cells. Red blood cells are the ones that carry the proteins that make the blood a certain type, like O+ or AB-. And they’re able to take twice as much from you than with whole blood, without dehydrating you to no end, as the plasma and platelets are returned with some saline water.
The whole experience was not much different than regular blood donation, though it did leave a metallic taste in the back of my mouth. You can’t donate for 16 weeks (as opposed to 8). Which is fine by me. It gives me more time to recover between donations.