- 1. What is plasma?
Plasma is the clear yellowish fluid portion of the blood that transports water and nutrients to all the cells in the body. It is composed of approximately 90 percent salt water and 10 percent protein and electrolytes. Plasma contains many specialized proteins (antibodies) that aid in fighting infections and can be used to make life saving medical products.
- 2. How is my plasma used?
The plasma that is collected at a Prometic Plasma Resources center is used to manufacture a wide variety of potentially life-saving products that could benefit thousands of people everyday. Your plasma may be used to make immune globulins that prevent or treat diseases like hemolytic disease of the newborn, hepatitis B, or chickenpox. Multiple products can be manufactured from every donation for diseases such as bleeding disorders, burns or other ailments. Plasma can also be made into reagents for diagnostic test kits used to test for and diagnose disease.
It is important to remember that plasma is not a substance that can be produced in a laboratory or some other artificial environment. It can only be obtained from healthy adults. When you donate plasma, you are helping to save lives.
- 3. Why should I donate?
You should donate because your plasma is needed. Hospitals and physicians vitally need high-quality products, and the antibodies used to make them are often in short supply. Knowing you’ve made a personal contribution toward improving the health of others is one of the most rewarding aspects of donating.
Further, because the time you spend donating plasma is valuable; Prometic Plasma Resources donors are provided compensation for their plasma donations.
- 4. Is all plasma the same?
No, plasma is not all the same. Plasma can differ in the kinds of antibodies it contains. Antibodies are a key defence in the immune system and each antibody is specific for the “intruder” that it attacks. If a donor has specific antibodies in sufficient quantities, he or she may be considered a special donor. People may also have unique blood types that make them special as donors.
- 5. How do I know if I can donate?
For most plasma programs, you must be 18 years of age or older, meet our minimum weight requirements and be in good health. At your initial appointment, you will receive a physical exam and your medical history will be reviewed. These steps help ensure donating is safe for you and those receiving products produced from your plasma. At every visit, your health will be screened to help you have a safe donation.
- 6. How soon after donating whole blood can someone donate plasma? What about vice versa?
After donating a unit of whole blood, you must wait 8 weeks before donating plasma. After donating plasma, the usual recommendation is to wait 2 to 3 days before donating whole blood, assuming you are in good health.
- 7. If someone is ineligible for blood donation are they also ineligible to donate plasma?
Typically, most requirements are the same but in some rare instances you may be able to donate plasma if ineligible to donate blood. In most cases, if someone is ineligible for blood donation they are also ineligible for plasma donation as many of the same FDA guidelines apply to both blood and plasma donations.
Contact your nearest center to discuss your eligibility for plasma donation.
- 8. What should I expect when donating plasma
Donations are made through an automated procedure called plasmapheresis. Plasmapheresis is the process of removing whole blood then separating the cellular components from the plasma. The red and white blood cells as well as platelets are returned to the donor and the plasma is retained for use in preparing medical products.
Similar to donating blood, you will be comfortably reclined during the donation. A needle will be placed into a vein in your arm and your blood collected into sterile equipment. The equipment is used once then discarded. It is in this sterile equipment that the plasma is separated from the red and white blood cells and platelets. These blood cells and platelets are returned to you through the same needle in your arm. At the end of the donation, sterile saline will be given to you through the needle to help replace the plasma that was removed from your blood. Because the red blood cells are returned to you and most of the plasma is replaced with saline you won’t feel weak or tired after donating.
Our professional medical staff is dedicated to making your visit comfortable and rewarding. You can spend the donation time relaxing, chatting with other donors or catching up on your favorite magazine or book.
- 9. What side effects can happen during or after plasma donation?
Before donating you will be told about the risks of donating plasma, possible side effects, and be given an opportunity to have your questions answered.
- 10. How long does it take to donate plasma?
Your first visit will take approximately two and a half hours. This visit will include a physical exam and donation. The physical exam helps to ensure donating is safe for you and to protect the recipient of the medical products made from your plasma. On subsequent visits, a staff member will check your vital signs and ask some questions about your health history. In addition, your hematocrit (the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells) and plasma protein levels will be measured. For these visits you can expect to spend approximately an hour and a half in the center. You can help speed the time required for your donations by drinking plenty of water and limiting fatty foods in the 24 hours prior to donation.
- 11. What should I do to prepare myself for a plasma donation?
It is important that you have proper diet and stay hydrated to have a healthy plasma donation. Plasma donors should follow a diet that meets the recommended daily requirements for protein, typically between 50 to 80 grams daily for an adult. Donors should remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or juice the day prior and the day of donation; making sure to avoid alcohol, caffeine and fatty foods.
Getting enough rest the night before a donation and not smoking at least 30 minutes before or after a donation are also recommended. For more information, take a look at our Become A Donor page.
- 12. How often can I donate Plasma?
You can donate up to twice in 7 days but must skip at least one day in between your donations. For example, you can donate on Monday and Wednesday or Monday and Thursday but not Monday and Tuesday.
- 13. Will my blood be tested?
Your blood will be tested for your blood type and infectious disease markers (including Hepatitis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV). In addition, other tests may be performed based on your medical history or special testing required to qualify you for the plasma program. Donors are also screened for syphilis, hematocrit and protein levels.
- 14. What should I bring to my appointment?
For your first donation you will need to bring a valid photo ID, your social insurance (SIN) or social security (SSN) card and proof of address. The name on your photo ID must be an exact match to the name on your SIN/SSN card or you will also need to bring evidence of your name change such as a marriage license.
- 15. What time does the center open?
Click here for Winnipeg opening times.
- 16. How much money do I get for donating blood plasma?
Donor compensation amounts vary and will be discussed in detail during your first appointment.
- 17. What are the requirements to donate?
The minimum requirements are that you are 18 years of age or older, weigh at least 110 lbs and are in good health and must live within acceptable mileage radius of donation center. Contact us for more details regarding donation requirements.
- 18. How old do you have to be to donate blood plasma?
You must be at least 18 years old.
- 19. How are plasma donation centers regulated?
Plasma centers are licensed and inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Health Canada, and depending on the location, other health or laboratory authorities. Prometic Plasma Resources is also a proud member of the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA), a voluntary association who works with national and international agencies representing the plasma industry.
- 20. How do I register to donate blood plasma?
Click here to contact our Winnipeg center.
- 21. Where can I donate my plasma?
Click here for our Winnipeg center information.
- 22. I am a diabetic, can I donate blood plasma?
Being a diabetic does not automatically rule you out from being a donor. You will have to be evaluated at our centers prior to a donation to see if you are healthy enough to donate blood plasma.
- 23. Does my sexual orientation matter?
No, however, there are some laws that may restrict your ability to donate blood plasma. Please contact your local center to see if you qualify.
- 24. How many times can I donate?
There is no limit on the number of times you can donate. There is, however, a limit on how often you may donate.
- 25. How often can I donate?
You may donate twice in seven day period with at least one day between those donations.
- 26. Whats the difference between blood and plasma donation centers?
In whole blood donations you give the plasma (yellow part of your blood), red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (the red part of your blood). When you make a blood plasma donation you are only donating the plasma or the yellow part of your blood. Your red cells, white cells and platelets are returned to you through a process called plasmapheresis.
- 27. How much plasma is taken during a session?
The amount of plasma taken is based on your weight and total blood volume.
- 28. What are the guidelines for donating blood plasma?
The blood plasma donation requirements are set forth by multiple regulatory agencies. For most specialty plasma programs, you must be 18 years of age or older, meet our minimum weight requirements and be in good health. There are currently no height requirements for donating blood plasma. At your initial appointment, you will receive a physical exam and your medical history will be reviewed. These steps help ensure donating is safe for you and those receiving products produced from your plasma. At every visit, your health will be screened to help you have a safe donation.
- 29. If someone is ineligible for blood donation are they also ineligible to donate plasma?
Most eligibility requirements are the same but there are some differences that would make you eligible to donate plasma when you can’t donate whole blood and vice versa.