Learn more about becoming a plasma donor and the donation process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is plasma? What is its function?

Plasma is a straw-colored “liquid” portion of blood, which is also composed of a “cellular” portion consisting of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Plasma is made up of:

  • Water (about 90%)
  • Proteins and clotting factors (about 10%)
  • Small amounts of salts, glucose, and lipids

It contains important substances like antibodies that protect us from such diseases as hepatitis, rabies, tetanus, and chicken pox; clotting factors that stop bleeding; and proteins that can be vital to the survival of trauma and burn victims.

What is the difference between donating blood and donating plasma?

Blood is composed of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Plasma makes up approximately 55 percent of the volume of blood. About 7 percent of a person’s weight is blood. An average sized man has about 12 pints of blood and an average woman has about 9 pints.

What is plasmapheresis?

Plasmapheresis is a plasma donation process in which you only donate the straw-colored “liquid” portion of your blood, the plasma. A needle is placed in the vein of the donor’s arm, and the blood is collected utilizing a highly specialized medical device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This automated instrument then separates the plasma from the bloods cellular portion (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) which are then returned to the donor through the same needle along with a saline solution to help the body replace the plasma removed from the blood.

Who can donate plasma?

Donors must be 18 or older, must be in good physical health and lead a low-risk lifestyle. Learn More

How often can plasma be donated?

Plasma is quickly replaced by the body, normally within 24 hours. A person may donate no more than 2 times every 7 days with at least a 1 day interval between donations.

How long does it take to donate plasma?

The first visit should take between 2 and 4 hours, due to screening to ensure that the donor meets health standards. Subsequent visits will usually last slightly over 1 hour.

Why is my second plasma donation so important?

Your second donation provides two sets of test results and health screenings to assure the safety and reliability of the plasma supply. If you only donate one time, your plasma donation will not be used to help save lives.

What is involved in donating plasma?

The process of donating plasma is similar to donating whole blood. The donor is
comfortably reclined during the donation. A needle is placed in the vein of a
donor’s arm and blood is collected in sterile equipment. The plasma is separated
from the cellular portion of your blood which is returned to the donor through
the same needle. Learn More

Are there risks to donating plasma?

Donating plasma is safe as disposable and sterile equipment are used throughout the donation process. All of our Plasma Centers are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as various European and Asian agencies, under strict guidelines.

What are the possible side effects after donating plasma?

A small number of donors may become light-headed during or immediately after donating plasma. Some donors may experience a slight bruising at the site of the needle placement. These and other possible side effects will be explained by our medical staff during the donors first visit to the center.

How do I benefit?

The time a person spends donating plasma is valuable. For this reason, remuneration will be offered to the donor. Most importantly, everyone who needs plasma products benefits from plasma donations. In many cases there is no alternative for the patients who rely on products made from donated plasma. Learn More