Blood Plasma Donation

Plasma is a component of blood that contains antibodies and clotting factors, providing relief to people suffering from serious medical issues like burns and trauma, cancers, or rare diseases.

What Is Blood Plasma

Plasma is a blood component used in making medications and vaccines. Donors of plasma must meet certain health criteria in order to be eligible, including age, height and weight requirements. They must also be free of blood-borne diseases as well as not taking any medications that could interfere with donation, such as blood thinners or immune suppressants. Additionally, they cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding donors.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs plasma donation in the US.

Initial plasma center visits typically last around two hours, including check-in, screening and donation procedures. Subsequent visits usually take less time.

Before plasma collection can occur, donor blood must first be drawn and tested for illnesses and diseases such as anemia. Anemia occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells available to transport oxygen throughout the body’s tissues.  Anemia is a disqualifier for donation.

Not only will donors be tested for common diseases and infections, they will also be screened for signs of HIV infection. HIV diagnosis is another disqualifier.

Under plasmapheresis, plasma is extracted from its host blood components such as red blood cells and platelets and collected using a computerized machine before returning them back into the donor’s system. Donations typically occur every month or 28 days.

To minimize blood loss during plasmapheresis, it is crucial for donors to remain well hydrated by drinking plenty of water the day prior and day of donation. They should also eat protein and iron-rich foods while resting well the night prior to giving blood.

Plasma pooling containers and/or final containers must be marked with unique donor numbers or bleed numbers in order to accurately identify donated plasma. Donors should also be weighed prior and after plasmapheresis to ensure accurate measurements.

Plasma Uses

Plasma is the liquid component of blood that transports antibodies, clotting factors, and nutrients throughout your body. Plasma has long been used as a treatment option for various conditions including blood disorders, severe burns, liver failure and some rare or inherited chronic diseases.  Additionally, it’s also effective at fighting infections like rabies and tetanus.

Plasma collected through apheresis is immediately frozen to preserve its quality before being used by hospital care teams as needed. Frozen plasma can be thawed out and used in emergency situations like car accidents or major surgery, as well as supplementing losses due to other sources during surgery.

Donating plasma involves having it separated from the rest of your blood and placed into an apheresis bag or plasma separator for storage. The bag is attached to an apheresis machine which separates plasma from red cells, platelets, and other blood components; typically this process takes 45-60 minutes depending on your blood type.

Your plasma can then be used to produce various medical products, such as immunoglobulins, clotting factors and albumin. Immunoglobulins can help treat several immune disorders including primary and acquired immunity deficiency as well as prevent diseases like chickenpox and shingles and some forms of cancers. Clotting factors treat blood disorders that cause bleeding problems like hemophilia (though most cases of hemophilia A and B are now treated using recombinant clotting factor therapies).

Albumin can help treat fluid loss or replace low levels of protein, such as with kidney disease, congenital or acquired liver disease or severe burns. Donating plasma for albumin production helps people who require recovery after surgery or serious burns, as well as those needing it to treat bleeding disorders such as hemophilia. 

Plasma Donation Process

Before donating plasma, it is necessary to complete a medical exam to ensure your health is suitable. You will be asked medical history questions as well as undergo testing for viruses such as HIV and hepatitis. Depending on your results of these tests, disqualification could occur for having Hepatitis B/C/HIV as well as bleeding disorders or having had sexual acts for money purposes.

Once approved to donate plasma, the technicial will draw blood from your arm using a plasmapheresis machine. This device separates plasma from other cellular components before returning it back into your body with sterile saline solution. Most donation centers will have you consume water throughout the process.

Affter you donate plasma, they will provide you with refreshments to rehydrate. They may ask you to remain for 15 minutes after your donation so your blood volume can return to normal and return your body back into balance. It is advisable to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing to your plasma donation appointment.

Before going in to donate plasma, it is best to get plenty of sleep and consume a balanced breakfast that includes protein and iron-rich foods such as protein-rich breakfast bars. Avoid high-fat foods and caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda since these can dehydrate you.  Water or juice would be more suitable as sources of hydration.

Donation Side Effects

Donating plasma is generally safe. People may experience mild side effects during and after donation that are easily treatable.

One of the more common side effects associated with plasma donation is an arm or chest bruise, which is completely normal and easily treated using cold compresses.

Blood plasma donation can leave some people with feelings of weakness or fatigue, due to depleting their body of essential vitamins and salts. To minimize this side effect, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially before donation, can be beneficial. 

Some donors may experience an adverse reaction to the citrate used to prevent clotting in plasma collection, such as tingling of face, hands or feet.  More serious reactions like cramping, shaking, chills, nausea/vomiting/numbness around the mouth are possible.

An individual should not donate plasma if they have serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, low blood sugar, severe heart conditions or bleeding disorders.  

Donate Plasma For Money

To incentivize individuals to donate plasma regularly, many plasma collection centers offer monetary compensation for their time and effort. These payments serve as a way to acknowledge the commitment of donors, as plasma donation requires a significant time commitment compared to whole blood donation. 

Donating plasma can provide compensation in the form of reloadable prepaid cards that can be accessed and used at merchants that accept debit or credit card payments. Different plasma collection centers set their own compensation rates and incentives, so before agreeing to donate, you’ll want to research their policies.

It is important to note that the practice of paying individuals for blood plasma donation is legal and regulated in most countries, including the United States. However, specific guidelines and regulations govern these transactions to ensure the safety of both donors and recipients. These regulations are in place to prevent any potential exploitation and maintain the integrity of the donation process. 

The donation center will advise you when you are eligible to donate again.  Do not attempt to donate earlier with another center.  Waiting times are needed to avoid unnesssary strains on human bodies.

Donating plasma is considered income by the IRS and should be reported on your annual tax return. Plasma centers do not withhold taxes from payments you receive for plasma donations.  To properly report your earnings, you’ll need to keep track of dates, locations and exact payment amounts.

Payments for blood plasma donation play a significant role in encouraging regular donors and meeting the growing demand for plasma-based treatments. While the monetary compensation serves as a motivating factor, it is essential to remember that the primary purpose of plasma donation is to save lives and improve healthcare. By understanding the concept of blood plasma payment, we as a society can appreciate the contributions of donors, and the positive impact they have on the medical community.

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