Difference Between Donating Blood and Plasma

Plasma Versus Blood Donations

You can give blood or plasma. Both plasma and blood plasma are essential components that are used to safe and improve lives of patients. The table below highlights the different between plasma and blood. Both are vital to the patients that rely on healthy committed donors that take time out of their lives to provide life-saving therapies.

Generally, donors for both plasma or blood have similar health requirements, with a few exceptions. As plasma undergoes significant purification which reduces risk of certain transmitted diseases, there can be differences.

Contact the plasma or blood center if you have specific questions relating to your health and your eligibility to donate safely.

Plasma Donation

Uses Source Plasma for Further Manufacturing uses:

·       Source Material for Therapeutic Plasma Proteins such as Albumin, Immune Globulin, Alpha-1 Protease Inhibitor, Clotting Factors, Plasminogen, and C-1Esterase Inhibitor

Process Plasma collection or plasmapheresis is an automated process where the donor is connected to a machine by venipuncture (needle inserted into a vein), blood is mixed with anticoagulant and passed through a centrifuge to harvest the liquid component plasma. The cellular components such as red, while blood cells and platelets are returned to the donor
Components Plasma is isolated from blood after removal of cellular components. It consists of:


·       Plasma Proteins such as Albumin, antibodies, clotting factors and up to 200 other proteins that can be made into therapeutic drugs

·       90 % Water

·       Salts

Donor Age At least 18 years
Donor Weight At least 110 pounds (50 Kg)
Time for Donation 60-120 minutes
Frequency Twice within a 7-day period

Blood Donation

Uses Blood for Transfusion uses:

·       blood lost due to surgery or injury

·       Correct bleeding disorders or other disease

·       Recovered plasma used for plasma fractionation



Process A sterile blood bag with anticoagulant is used to harvest donor blood by venipuncture (needle inserted into a vein).
Components Blood consists of:

  • Red cells carry oxygen and help remove waste products
  • White cells help fight infections
  • Plasma liquid part of blood carrying therapeutic proteins
  • Platelets help clot blood


Donor Age At least 17 years with parental consent
Donor Weight At least 110 pounds (50 Kg). *May be height restrictions for short stature donors.
Time for Donation 30-60 minutes
Frequency Males > 56 days

Females > 84 days

to donate safely.