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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

    Plasma 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. Learn More

  • 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 and includes a free medical 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 your first visit to the center.

  • How do I benefit?

    At Biotest Plasma Centers, donors receive payment and rewards for donating plasma and for the time they devote to improving the quality of life of others.  You have the satisfaction of knowing that your plasma donations make a big difference for the thousands of people suffering from a host of life-threatening conditions. Learn More

  • Can I bring children with me to the plasma donation center?

    No one under the age of 18 is allowed inside the plasma donation center.

  • How many months since my last donation will determine whether or not I'm considered to be a new donor?

    If your last donation has been 6 months or more you will be considered a new donor and will be required to go through the eligibility process including a medical exam.

  • I have been traveling outside of the United States. Can I donate plasma?

    Please see the following chart regarding travel or residence outside the U.S.

    If you have traveled to an area where exposure to Malaria is possible, you may be eligible to donate plasma depending on infection status and treatment.  Additionally, if you have traveled to an area where exposure to the Ebola virus is possible (currently Democratic Republic of the Congo), you will not be eligible to donate plasma.

  • Can I donate if I have a tattoo or piercing?

    We do have a tattoo/piercing policy in place that states donors will be deferred from plasma donation for 12 months after receiving a tattoo or body piercing, unless the donor can provide a completed Sterility Verification Form. The Sterility Verification Form can be obtained from the plasma center and will need to be completed by the Tattoo/Piercing Parlor where you received your tattoo. Once the completed form is returned to the center, you will be deferred from donating plasma for 4 months after the date of the new tattoo. After your first donation you will be temporarily deferred until we receive your test results from the lab. After your test results are received you will be able to continue with a normal donation schedule.