While you’ve certainly heard of whole blood donation, blood plasma donation is lesser-known. Whole blood donation is the most common type of blood donation, which is typically used to help trauma patients and patients undergoing surgery. Plasma donation extracts the plasma from your blood, which can be used to make therapeutic medicines that treat numerous life-threatening illnesses. The blood donation and plasma donation processes are similar, though the plasma donation process takes a little longer.
The plasma extracted is the same, but the donation process differs. Recovered plasma comes from a whole blood donation, where the individual components of the blood are separated. A regular blood donation only contains about 250 milliliters of recovered plasma. Source plasma is the plasma donated through plasmapheresis. This is the process where blood is drawn from the donor, plasma is separated from the blood, and the remaining red blood cells and platelets are returned to the donor’s body. Source plasma donors can supply up to 800 milliliters of plasma in a single donation.
Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Plasma is the largest part of your blood, making up 55% of its content. Though blood is red when it comes out of the body, plasma is a light yellow liquid. Plasma is 90% water, but also contains essential enzymes, proteins, and salt. Plasma plays a vital role in treating serious health problems. When donated, plasma can be concentrated into various therapies and medicines to help people suffering from chronic conditions.
Plasma donations are used to make immunoglobulin or IVIG, which treats individuals with primary immune deficiency disorders. IVIG helps these individuals fight off serious infections, as their immune systems don’t respond to traditional antibiotics.
Plasma donation is a commitment. Donors must return for a second donation within a six-month timeframe or the prior donation will be discarded. A first-time donation is great, but you must donate twice to make a difference!
Millions of liters of plasma must be donated annually to create enough life-changing medications to help those in need. Treating just one patient with hemophilia for a year can take upward of 1,200 plasma donations. Treating a patient with genetic emphysema for a year can take up to 900 plasma donations. That’s why your continued donations are so critical.
Unlike regular blood donation, which can be done no more than once every eight weeks, you can donate plasma up to two times within a seven-day period. The body replenishes plasma proteins and fluid quickly after a donation within 24-48 hours, making it safe to donate more frequently than a whole blood donation.
Donated plasma is used to produce lifesaving therapies called therapeutic proteins. These are used to treat patients suffering from primary immunodeficiency, hemophilia, septic shock, and more.
Just as there is no substitute for blood, there is no substitute for the therapeutic proteins that come from plasma. This life-saving medication can only be created through plasma donations, which is why donating is so important!
That’s right, you can make between $30 and $50 per plasma donation. How much you make depends on how much you weigh and how much you’re allowed to donate.
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