If you already donate blood, you know about the lifesaving benefits, but you’re limited to donating up to 24 times a year. If you find yourself wanting to do more, consider donating plasma. Just like blood donations, plasma donations can help people in need. Here are some things you may want or need to know before donating plasma:
What’s the Difference Between Blood and Plasma Donations?
According to American Red Cross, plasma is a fluid within the blood that’s composed of approximately 92% of water, 7% of vital proteins and 1% of mineral salts, sugars, fats, hormones and vitamins. Unlike a whole blood donation, when a pint is given, blood is drawn from one arm, during a plasma donation, and channeled through a sterile, single-use collection set to an automated machine (rather than collected in a bag during blood donations). The machine is designed to collect plasma only and then returns the remaining blood components to you.
Whole blood donation takes about an hour and individuals can donate blood every 56 days. Blood donations are refrigerated and have a shelf life of about 21-35 days and a majority of blood donations are used for trauma and surgery. Plasma donations, on the other hand, take a little bit longer (about an hour and a half) and plasma can be donated a couple times a week. Plasma donations are frozen, have a shelf life of about a year, and is often used for burn patients, shock, and bleeding disorders. Just like whole blood donation, plasma donations have little to no side effects.
What Do I Need to Do to Donate Plasma?
If you want to donate plasma, you must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 18 years of age, must pass the medical screening, and be determined an eligible donor . Your first appointment at a plasma center takes about 2 hours while subsequent donation appointments will take less time.
Can I Donate Blood and Plasma?
Plasma donations can occur as frequently as two times within a 7 day period, but with at least 48 hours before the next donation. If you are interested in continuing to donate blood, you should wait two to three days (after your plasma donation) before you donate blood. It is also recommended that you wait 8 weeks to donate plasma again after donating a pint of blood.
Can I Receive Compensation?
Individuals, who donate plasma, can receive compensation. Depending on where you donate, the average compensation for giving plasma is between $20 and $50. Not only will your plasma donation save a life, but it’s a relatively easy way to make some extra cash.