Monday, September 2, 2013

Can Pregnant Women Donate Plasma?


Q: Can pregnant women give blood plasma? Also, can you conceive while donating? I have never donated plasma before so don't know anything about the process.  From what I understand, it is dangerous to a pregnancy to donate plasma. However, my aunt regularly donates plasma and it sounds more involved than typical blood plasma donation so I would venture to guess that you can't do this while pregnant, either. 

A: Plasma donation is a great gift, but is very stressful, and depletes your system's fluids, making plasma donation a bad idea when pregnant and nursing.


Do not give blood or plasma if you might be pregnant, and for 6 months after birth. Your baby needs all of your body's blood, plasma, and platelets to stay healthy. No licensed blood plasma centers would let women donate their plasma during pregnancy .

You Can Conceive While Donating Plasma

Yes, you can conceive a baby while donating plasma, but you're more likely to be successful if you follow all of the plasma center's rules for donation, and stay healthy. I don't know if you can donate plasma while taking fertility drugs, but donating plasma won't harm your chances of actually getting pregnant (at which point you should both celebrate, and stop donating plasma.)

If you're TTC and not on birth control, you should take a pregnancy test before every donation, to make sure you're not pregnant. My mother told me that when she got pregnant in the 80's, there wasn't a glut of at home pregnancy tests like now, so she donated plasma without even knowing, and accidentally induced a miscarriage.

Why Can't I Donate Plasma While Pregnant?

Plasma donation while pregnant is a bad idea, because your body (and your baby!) needs all of the plasma fluid they can get. Donating plasma lowers the amount of plasma fluids, and nutrition in your blood .

It is also found during pregnancy that the plasma, or fluid part of the blood, increases more rapidly than hemoglobin. This dilutes the blood, and raises plasma homocystine levels. Red cell numbers increase, but not as much as the plasma volume increases, so, although there are more red cells, the percentage is decreased. Elevated levels of plasma homocysteine can lead to serious complications in pregnancy.

Therefore, it's not safe to donate plasma while you're pregnant.

Can You Donate Plasma After a Miscarriage?

You can donate plasma 6 weeks after having a miscarriage. However, you should wait more time than the minimum 6 weeks to let your body heal, depending on the severity of the bleeding. After a miscarriage, your body loses blood, iron, and nutrients from the placental wound, and you should refrain from donating immediately. After 6 weeks, your body's iron, protein, and red blood cell level should return to normal. All women's bodies take different amounts of time to heal - some up to 4 months, or 12 weeks after a miscarriage, depending which stage (late or early) the miscarriage occurred.

Pregnant Plasma Donors and Risk of TROLI

Before donating, you will be screened for conditions which might make giving your plasma unsafe.  Unfortunately, the disease which causes Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) is found more frequently in fresh and frozen plasma of pregnant women. Pregnant women have been found in studies as more likely to pass on TRALI to plasma recipients.

With regards to plasma, in the future pregnant women will be taken out of the donor pool for plasma regardless of blood type due to the risk of white cell antibodies causing several deaths a year involving TROLI (transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury).

Plasma Donation Screening Process

Before donating, you'll be asked on several forms if you suspect you might be pregnant, and if you are, plasma centers will not let you donate. In addition, all donors plasma is screened for the pregnancy hormone, HCG, after it's collected. Beta HCG can be detected in your blood's plasma, which is taken from a blood test.

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