Mobilised peripheral blood is now the main source of stem cells collected from normal donors. We report our experience of mobilising and collecting 400 normal healthy donors using standardised procedures and techniques. Target recipient doses were reached with one aphaeresis in 63% of donors and with two aphaereses in 81% of donors. Approximately 2% of donors yielded such low progenitor values that they were termed ‘poor mobilisers’. There were minor effects of donor age, weight and sex and where possible, larger male donors under the age of 55 years should be selected. Two forms of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) were used at the same dose and no significant difference was seen in the yield of CD34+ cells collected/l of blood processed. However, a greater number of granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming cells were harvested using lenograstim (glycosylated G-CSF) compared with filgrastim (non-glycosylated G-CSF; P = 0·002). CD34+ cell yields were also measured halfway through the aphaeresis procedure. This was found to be highly predictive of final yield and facilitated distribution of the stem cell product to other centres. The observation that CD34+ yields did not decline in the second half compared with the first half of aphaeresis suggests that the circulating cell numbers are not static.