Here are some quick, general guidelines for who can donate: you must be at least age 18, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good general health.
The following medical conditions will also prevent you from donating:
- Babesiosis (a rare malaria-like parasite)
- A diagnosed sickle cell trait
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Any strokes
- Other kinds of diseases or conditions won't hinder successful plasma donation, but will only require a short period of deferment, such as:
- Allergies, if medication is being taken
- Chicken pox
- Genital herpes
- Medication can be a deterrent to plasma donation, but not always. It depends on the kind of medication being taken. These medications can cause problems:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Diabetic medications
- Growth hormones
- Thyroid medication
Medications that bar you from plasma donations include:
- Allergy medicine
- Birth control pills
- Depression medication
- Diet pills
- Female hormone pills
What Other Health Conditions Will Disqualify Plasma Donation?
In general, illness, certain medications, foreign travel, and recent tattooing or body piercing are among factors that can bar you from plasma donation.
Other categories that are permanently barred include people who've lived in certain parts of Europe since 1980, or people who've spent more than three days in prison in the last 12 months, or anyone who's been to certain African nations. Lastly, if you've had an "intimate encounter" with anyone who fits any of the above descriptions... that's it. You can't donate either.
Other Factors That Will Stop You From Donating Plasma
If you've had acupuncture, or any body piercings or tattoos, or electrolysis, say goodbye to donating for about a year. If you've been assaulted, you can't do plasma donation for a year. If you snort cocaine, don't plan on paying for it with plasma donation money, because you also can't donate for a year.
However, plasma donation is safe if you're menustrating, or a smoker.
Can I Donate With HIV or AIDS?
If you've ever sold your "services" since 1977, you're out of luck. If you've ever shot drugs into your arm that weren't prescribed by a doctor, you simply can't donate plasma.
Plasma Donation Is a Conditional Health Contract
What some people don't realize is that plasma donation is conditional...and those conditions can become a very long list of strict requirements. Not everyone makes a good blood plasma donor, and it's good to know if you fall into an exclusion category before you go.
While there's no way to write an exhaustive list of who can and can't donate, the following are a general guideline. If you think you might qualify, guidelines are different for every plasma collection company, and the doctor's questioning may unearth something that would either temporarily or permanently disqualify you from plasma donation.
Should I Lie on the Health Exam to Donate?
These qualifications are only a sampling, not a conclusive list. In order to determine conclusively if you can donate or not, you have to go to your local plasma donation center and go through the exams.
Be honest in your answers, and the doctor on staff will let you know if plasma donation is okay for you. Prospective donors get screened individually by a medical professional before they donate, but when you call to make an appointment ask about specific requirements and restrictions.