Donating plasma is a great way to make a difference in someone's life. These therapies are used by patients all over the world, as well as in your own community.
Here's what happens when you enter the plasma center:
- When you enter a donor center, you'll be greeted at the reception desk. You'll be asked to provide some proof of identification, such as a valid drivers license Social Security or INS number and proof of residency, like a utility bill. You also need to verify that you are at least 18 and are in general good health.
- We will then take a few minutes to fill out a new donor history questionnaire, either using a computer or a printed form. It's important for the health of the donor of the safety of plasma protein therapies that donors provide accurate health history information.
- After filling out the questionnaire, your veins are checked to make sure they are suitable for the physical part of the donation.
- If you remain eligible, you will then go into a private room for a physical examination, your health history questionnaire will be reviewed at this time and you will be asked some additional questions about any medications you may be taking tattoos, piercings, recent travel or any high risk behavior that may eliminate you temporarily or permanently, as a suitable plasma donor.
- During the exam you will be observed for your general state of health, your vital signs taken and your skim had the back heart longs abdomen and reflexes will be checked. This physical exam takes place annually, if you become a regular committed donor.
- Once the physical exam is completed, a technician will take a blood sample to test the protein levels in your blood. You'll also need to verify you weigh at least 110 pounds, your temperature, pulse and blood pressure is also taken to make sure you are ready to donate. These tests are performed and a health history questionnaire administered each time you donate.
- To ensure that your health has not changed after the testing is done, you'll be taken to the center waiting room until a donation chair is available.
- Once a donation chair is ready, a pre-trained technician will escort you and will evaluate which arm to use for the donation. The technician will verify your name and other information which is printed on the donation bag or bottle, and start testing.
- The sterile prepackaged tubing materials that are used with the specialized medical equipment that collects the plasma are then unpacked in front of you.
- The a collection device is then prepared to take the plasma donation after the technician places of tourniquet on your upper arm, and will clean your arm with the sterile solution and then insert the needle. The machine will begin to cycle to start collecting the plasma.
- Once the needle has been inserted your plasma is collected through a process called plasmapheresis, your blood is pumped into a plasmapheresis device that separates the plasma from the other blood components such as red and white blood cells and platelets.
- While the plasma is collected, the other blood components are filtered into a reservoir. Once the reservoir is for your red and white blood cells and platelets are returned to your body throughout the donation process. The system automatically alternates between collection and replacement until the predetermined amount of plasma, which is based on your weight is obtained donating plasma has a long record of safety.
- Once the plasma donation process has been completed, the device alerts staff and you will be disconnected from the machine. You'll then be directed to the checkout desk in order to receive compensation for your time and effort involved with the donation. Typically, the compensation ranges from $20-$30.
Trained staff carefully monitors the entire donation process to make sure that donors are comfortable and healthy throughout the donation experience.
It's important to understand that the process for first-time donor can take up to two hours or more, including the health history questionnaire medical examination and the actual donation process. The entire process takes around 45 minutes after that, so bring along a book or your laptop to help pass the time.
How is Donating Plasma Different From Donating Blood?
Plasma is replenished by your body relatively quickly, and much more rapidly than red blood cells. In the US donors can give plasma twice within seven days with at least two days in between donations.
By contrast, a blood donor may only give blood once every 56 days.
What Is Plasma Used For?
Plasma is used to produce therapies that provide vital proteins such as globulins and blood clotting factors in patients with rare life-threatening diseases. For example, bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disorder primary immunodeficiency diseases.
They help a person's ability to fight infection. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic form of emphysema that severely damages liver and lungs, as well as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a rare disorder of peripheral nerves. Plasma protein therapies also were used to treat serious medical condition, such as trauma, Burns and shock.
In fact, it can take more than 1000 plasma donations to produce a novel therapy to treat one adult patient per year. Consequently plasma donation is vital.
How is Blood Plasma Donation Regulated?
The industry not only adheres to US and international regulations, but demonstrates its commitment to quality and safety by the introduction of all voluntary set of industry standards called the international quality plasma program or IQPP.
For that reason plasma from one time only donors is not used to produce therapy. A donor must return to the center to donate plasma within six months of the initial donation before either donation can be used to produce a therapy.
This industry practice is one of the voluntary standards developed to help ensure that we collect plasma from healthy and committed donors. Patients who need plasma protein therapies rely on healthy regular committed plasma donors.
The long manufacturing process to create a therapy taken by a patient is 7 to 9 months. So the critical need for these therapies makes it essential to compensate qualified donors for their time. There are about 400 FDA licensed and IQPP certified plasma collection centers in the country.
Why Should I Donate?
Millions of people around the world are coping with rare chronic disorders and they need your help. You can become an essential part of saving someone's life by simply donating your plasma. Plasma can't be made in the laboratory. So it's extremely important that healthy adults donate plasma.
Approximately 20,000,000 plasma donations were collected last year. Donating plasma takes time and is a commitment, but is a meaningful and valuable way to get back to your community and to patients in the long run.