What is Plasma?

A woman donating plasma as the phlebotomist checks the plasma collection bag.

Plasma is the straw-colored liquid in which your blood cells circulate. Plasma is composed of about 92% water, 7% proteins, and 1% nutrients. Plasma transports these needed nutrients, proteins, clotting factors, and germ-fighting antibodies throughout your body via the circulatory system.

Why is plasma important?

Plasma increases blood volume in emergencies and can be used to make products that fight infections and diseases.

It is most often used to treat:
• Burn victims
• Babies and new moms
• Accident victims
• People with immune disorders
• Cancer patients

How does the donation process work?

Unlike a whole blood donation, where you give whole blood with all three blood components—plasma donations use a special automated process called apheresis (AYfur-EE-sis) to collect only your plasma.

The apheresis process uses a cell separator that collects plasma by spinning the blood during your donation, separating the plasma from the other blood components. The plasma is collected in separate bags and the remainder of your blood is returned to you along with some anticoagulant. This cycle is repeated several times to generate the required volume of plasma.

Why not take my plasma from my whole blood donation?

When you make a plasma donation, you donate approximately two to three times the amount of plasma than can be obtained from a whole blood donation. A patient needing plasma will often require large volumes for their treatment. You can give more of this product in one donation to help patients in need.

How long does the process take?

From registration through refreshment, when you donate plasma you should allow about 90 minutes. This allows you plenty of time to register and answer the questionnaire, give your donation and then relax afterwards. This extra time you take to give is vitally important for the much-needed plasma patients rely on every day.

How often can I donate plasma?

You can donate plasma every 28 days. Please consider donating plasma as part of your regular routine.

Are there special eligibility requirements?

In addition to general eligibility requirements, your blood volume (based on height and weight) may also play a role. Donors who make a plasma donation must sign an additional consent form at the time of donation.

Why are females tested for HLA antibodies?

Females interested in donating plasma will be screened for HLA antibodies. HLA antibodies can develop after being pregnant; they aren’t normally harmful to the person who acquires them, but they can be harmful for a patient who receives a plasma or platelet transfusion. Female donors found to be negative for HLA will be eligible to donate plasma.

Why are AB blood types the best type to give plasma?

AB blood type is the only plasma that can be safely transfused to anyone in an emergency and is always in high demand.

Donate plasma today

Talk with one of our donor specialists at 1.800.933.2566 or schedule an appointment today to make a plasma donation.