You now have the opportunity to go to bed each night and know that you´ve made a life and death difference for other human beings…interested? Donating plasma offers you, your friends, and classmates precisely that opportunity. No exaggeration – and you are even compensated for your time. That you´ve come to visit BPL is clear evidence that you care about others – and that you probably have a few questions:
- Am I eligible to donate?
- What can I expect on my initial visit?
- How is my plasma collected?
- What happens to my donated plasma?
- What´s in this for me?
Am I eligible to donate?
Most adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who weigh at least 110 pounds and are in basic good health are eligible to donate plasma. Some factors which may exclude you from donating are:
- lack of proof of identification
- a history of hepatitis
- body piercing or a tattoo within the last 12 months
- prolonged residence in Europe
- a history of cancer
- Suspicion of recent ingestion of alcohol. You must avoid alcohol at least 24 hours prior to donating.
- Fasting. You must eat a full and healthy meal within 4 hours before your donation. Avoid fatty foods for at least 24 hours before your donation.
What can I expect on my initial visit?
Your first visit to one of our centers is like a shakedown cruise – both you and BPL want to make sure it´s safe for you to donate. Our first concern is for you.
- The staff member who greets you will make sure that you have valid picture ID with your current address, and a valid Social Security Number.
- You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire covering your medical history and current health status.
- A qualified medical professional will conduct a physical examination.
- A photo will be taken for your file.
- From a small sample of your blood, your protein and iron levels will be checked to make sure donating is safe for you. (The results will be shared with you, of course.)
- With the preliminary screening completed, you will be seated in a comfortable chair that allows you to recline if you wish. Part of your ample supply of blood will be temporarily removed.
- The plasma component will be separated and stored. The cellular portion of your blood will be returned to you. The initial donation will take about 2 hours and all subsequent donations will take about 1 hour.
- You´ve made your first donation and earned your first fee!
How is my plasma collected?
Donating plasma is similar to giving blood – except that the only part of your blood that your body must replace is the plasma. The red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are all returned to you. The blood is removed through a needle inserted in a vein in your arm. It passes into a sterile, self-contained system that separates the plasma from the other components of the blood. This process is called PLASMAPHERESIS. The non-plasma components are returned to you through the same needle. At no time is your blood exposed to open air; nor does it leave the sterile, enclosed environment of the plasmapheresis system. Further, as you´ve seen in doctors´ offices and hospitals, all of the supplies used in BPL´s plasmapheresis centers come in sealed, sterile, one-time-use packages. The supplies used in drawing your donation are disposed of immediately after use. A fresh package is used for each donor.
What happens to my donated plasma?
Good question. The answer comes in two parts: applications and testing.
Human blood plasma is nature’s raw material for dozens of life-saving treatments and medications. Some may already be familiar to you:
- Intravenous Immune Globulin – prevention of infections in patients with primary immunodeficiency.
- Albumin – restoration of plasma volume in the treatment of shock, trauma, surgery and burns
- Factor VIII – treatment of bleeding and disorders of wound healing due to Factor VIII deficiency
- Alpha 1 Proteinase Inhibitor – treatment of emphysema caused by genetic deficiency
- Specific Immune Globulin – passive immunization subsequent to infectious disease exposure, e.g., Rubella, CMV, Rabies, Tetanus, Vaccinia, Hepatitis A, and Measles
- Rho (D) Immune Globulin (Anti-D) – treatment and prevention of hemolytic disease of fetus and newborn due to Rh incompatibility as well as incompatible blood transfusions.
- EPI Immune Globulin – used to create a new drug to prevent Staph infections in newborns.
The protection and quality of our blood supply, plasma included, is of paramount importance. Indeed, the United States is the major source of blood and plasma for many countries overseas because of the recognized quality of our supply and the diligent oversight in our system. Each and every unit of plasma donated is individually subjected to an extensive battery of FDA required tests.
What´s in this for me?
Plasma donors receive compensation for each donation. This is in recognition of the time you are willing to devote to boosting the availability of this critical medical resource.