Plasma Donations

Instead of donating a pint of whole blood, you can donate a particular component (e.g. platelets, plasma or red blood cells) or a combination of components that is most needed by patients who match your blood type.

Why do patients need plasma?

Plasma is most often needed to treat:

  • accident victims
  • burn victims
  • cancer patients
  • patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • patients with blood clotting problems.

Plasma is the straw-colored, liquid in which your blood cells "swim." Plasma is composed of about 92% water, 7% proteins such as albumin, gamma globulin, and clotting factors, and 1% nutrients, sugars, fats, hormones and vitamins. Plasma transports these needed nutrients, proteins, clotting factors and germ-fighting antibodies, throughout your body via the circulatory system.

What's it like to donate plasma?

A plasma donation feels much the same as a whole blood donation. A small amount of blood is taken from your arm using a new, sterile, single use needle. The blood then literally 'takes a spin' in a centrifuge to separate your plasma from other blood components. The plasma is collected in a separate bag and the remainder of your blood is returned to you. This cycle is repeated several times to generate the required volume of plasma.

The eligibility guidelines to donate plasma are the same as for whole blood. You must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health.

You can donate plasma using our automated technology every 28 days.

Can you make plasma from my whole blood donation?

Yes, plasma can be made from a whole blood donation but when you make a plasma donation using automated technology you donate approximately 2 to 3 times the amount of plasma than can be obtained from a whole blood donation. A patient needing plasma will often require large volumes of plasma for their treatment.

Is it safe to donate plasma?

Yes, at all times during the plasma collection process your blood remains inside a sterile tubing system and is never in contact with the equipment used for your plasma donation. All tubing, bags and the needle used to collect your plasma are new, sterile and used only once for you. After use, the entire disposable kit is discarded.