Our blood is made up of various components such as; platelets, white blood cells, red blood cells and other components at a cellular level. Plasma is one of those components, it is in a straw-colored liquid form and constitutes around 55 percent of the human blood. Plasma, in turn, is made up of; enzymes, antibodies, salt, water and other similar proteins.
To understand the importance of Plasma, it is imperative that we know the various functions that Plasma carries out in our day-to-day lives.
–Water constitutes 90% of plasma; therefore, plasma is a source of commute for the cells and other essential substances the human body needs.
–Plasma is entrusted with the responsibility of conducting extremely important functions, such as: Fighting Diseases, Blood Clotting and other major functions.
–Children and adults with cancer, including leukemia, need plasma transfusions; people undergoing—liver or bone marrow—transplants and patients with severe burns all needs plasma, and this is only the tip of the ice-berg; the use of plasma goes on.
So there are two kinds of plasma donations:
–Source Plasma is the process where your Plasma is collected through Plasmapheresis; a process which is automated, sterile and self-contained. Here plasma is separated from the red blood cells and other cellular components and these components (barring plasma) is transfused back to the donor on a real-time. Here, the plasma is exclusively used for further processing of it into final therapies dubbed – Fractionation. As a donor you do earn a compensation for your time and generosity.
–Recovered plasma is another procedure where blood, as a whole, is collected and then the cellular components is separated from it. And the plasma recovered from this process may ideally be used for Fractionation.
It cannot get more real than the fact that your plasma can save a life; in fact, many lives. No wonder we call it, “the gift of life.”
It is unfortunate that in the US, which is the 3rd most populous nation in the world, a handful of eligible people actually donate their blood and/or source plasma.
Plasma is critical for you and for me but at the same time, we can share what we have in excess with those whose needs are more than ours, can’t we? Trust me, there is no greater joy than saving lives and making a difference. Your plasma will be used to create therapies that can treat a variety of conditions and diseases. Let us go through the types of plasma protein therapies manufactured from source plasma and the different conditions they are used for treating:
Clotting Factors: Clotting Factors are extracted from the plasma that can help a lot of people suffering from bleeding disorders—for instance, hemophilia—where their blood does not clot properly. Subsequently minor injuries could, potentially, be fatal.
Immunoglobulin or IVIG: We, Humans, can suffer from over 150 PID (Primary Immune Deficiency disorders). In this situation, we have an improper or a dis-functioning immune system that does not readily respond to traditional antibiotics. Without IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin), such people are always susceptible to injuries.
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin: genetic emphysema is another term that Alpha-1 is more commonly known for (not so common I reckon). This is a condition where children or adults; both can have lung diseases. As if that wasn’t good enough; children can also have a liver disease simultaneously. This is hereditary and you can thank your parents for passing on the buck to you.
Albumin: Albumin extracted from plasma is essential for the treatment of burns, trauma patients and surgical patients
Hyperimmuneglobulins: These are used to treat rabies, tetanus; patients on dialysis; and patients undergoing organ transplant. Plasma can also be needed in treating a pregnant woman with Rh incompatibility; now this is a situation where the Mother’s and the fetus’ blood are incompatible and may, potentially, put the unborn’s life at risk.
Given the good Samritan you are; you’d obviously be all pumped up to pump out your Plasma and save lives, right? But before you dawn upon this path of compassion & generosity: you will need to visit a plasma collection center to determine if you are eligible to donate at all. Your eligibility is important because your safety (as a donor) and the safety of the therapies made from the plasma you’ve donated depends on it.
A plasma donor should fulfill these criteria:
Visit our plasma donation eligibility page to learn more.
The need for committed plasma donors is immense, so they are not gonna simply hand you a Qualified Donor status just because your intentions are heavenly. Down on earth, you’ll have to satisfy two health screening and negative test results within a period of six months to qualify. Until then, you can, well: Pray!!.
NOTE: Donor Eligibility lies solely at the discretion of the plasma collection facility
For a start, you could find the closest plasma collection center using the directory at http://www.donatingplasma.org/donation/find-a-donor-center You will need the following documents:
A receptionist will validate your I.D. and if it’s your first time, they will examine you physically.
A center technician will take your blood sample to check your protein and hematocrit levels.
You’ll be asked to complete a Donor History Questionnaire.
And if you come out with flying colors; an assistant will take you to the donation area where:
–You will be prepared for the process
–And the following steps will be conducted:
And as complicated as this procedure sounds; rest assured – this process is painless. You can actually upload videos, over Facebook Live, of you doing good in your lifetime.
First donations normally take about 2 hours while return visits average around 90 minutes. Not that it makes any difference but you will still be given a compensation as a token of thanks. The compensation amount differs from one plasma collection facility to another. A staff member will always be there to assist you with any concerns you may have.
Please Note: Your own safety and health comes first. All equipment’s and materials are use-and-throw and the center staffs are adequately trained to facilitate the proceedings.
The government and the International Quality Plasma Program regulates and sets standards for Plasma donations and all companies must adhere. The Collection Centers are frequently visited by independent auditors for inspections and to ascertain that standards are being met.
For more on this, you can visit:
The United States has countless Collection Centers you can approach if you want to play–Will Smith from Seven Pounds–in real life. ADMA BioCenters, BioLife Plasma Services, CSL Plasma, EUROPLASMA s.r.o., GCAM Plasma, Inc., Octapharma Plasma Inc.; are just a few to name.
Finding a Plasma Collection Center is fairly simple, you just have to:
–Enter your City, State or Zip Code
–You can also search by the name of the center (but I doubt anyone will do that). The best part, though, is that you can choose the proximity of the center by selecting the Radius in options of 10, 25, 50, 90 & 125 miles.
–Under Categories; you may want to choose IQPP certified because IQPP is what sets the standard for Plasma Donations.
–And then click on the search button and choose from the centers most convenient for you.
Visit plasma donation center guide to learn more.
And if your ever curious mind has more questions; you can always our plasma donation FAQ page to learn more. We have cover a lot questions that a donor need to know before going to donate plasma.
Yes you can, as long as you are 18 years of age and weigh 110 pounds (50 kg). But there’s more to it than just that; you must also pass two separate medical examinations (normally within a 6 month period) and a medical history screening and testing to check for any transmissible viruses. Only then, will your plasma be used for manufacturing plasma protein therapies.
For one; there are over 530 licensed and IQPP Certified collection centers across the US, Canada and Europe. Each of these collection centers functions under its respective government regulations. You could locate a center you at http://www.donatingplasma.org/donation/find-a-donor-center and ask for more information you may have.
Well; No Pain, No Gain…ain’t it?? The gain here being the fact that you will be saving so many lives. And you should be relaxed to know that the prick of the needle is milder than a Bee sting. In addition, you will be asked to do a finger stick test each time you donate so that your protein and hemoglobin levels can be evaluated.
It is as safe as going for a haircut. At IQPP certified collection centers, the entire process is run and monitored by professionally trained medical staffs. The environment is highly controlled and the collection equipment is sterilized and used for one time only to eliminate the possibility of transmitting diseases.
You will be required to have a pre-donation physical done; this includes (but is not limited to) your medical history, tests for viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis and testing your protein and hemoglobin levels.
There are two ways of doing it:
-Source Plasma is the process where your Plasma is collected through a process called plasmapheresis. Plasmapheresis is known as a self-contained, sterile, automated process where plasma is being separated by the medical facility from the red, white blood cells and other cellular components and these components (barring plasma) is transfused back to the donor on a real-time. Here, the plasma is exclusively used for further processing of it into final therapies (fractionation) and the donors may be compensated for their time and effort.
-Recovered plasma is another procedure where blood, as a whole, is collected and then from its cellular components which are the white and red cells, plasma is being separated. Besides, recovered plasma can also be used for fractionation.
First donations normally takes about 2 hours and return visits average about 90 minutes.
There are about 500 different types of proteins found in human blood plasma and 150 of these can be put to use for diagnosing diseases or manufacturing therapies.
Each company has a different pocket size. It’s advisable to get in touch with your nearest collection center to get accurate information.
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