Making a specialty donation of plasma allows you to give more of the proteins and nutrients found in this valuable blood component to cardiac surgery patients, burn victims, and others with various types of bleeding or clotting disorders. Plasma can also be used to make special medications that help patients with weakened immune systems resist infection and disease.
- Only male donors are eligible (see below)
- Types most needed: A+, B+, AB+, AB-
- Type AB donors are universal plasma donors, and are in high demand. Their plasma can be given to anyone in need
- Donate every 28 days; seven days later, you are eligible donate whole blood. You must wait 56 days between whole blood donations.
- Approximate donation time: 75 minutes
- Plasma donations can be made at our Duluth, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, and St. Paul donor center locations
Plasma Donation FAQ
- Why donate plasma?
As one of the three essential components of whole blood—along with red blood cells and platelets—plasma acts as a carrier for blood cells, nutrients, enzymes, and hormones. Clotting factors found in plasma can be critical to recovery and survival for newborn babies and adults going into open heart surgery. A typical liver transplant patient can require 25 units of plasma, while 20 units or more may be needed to sustain the life of a severe burn victim. Across the U.S., more than three million units of plasma are needed for transfusions every year. And since there is no substitute, only volunteer donors can help save lives.
- What is plasma donation?
Apheresis—meaning ‘to separate’—allows you to give just one part of your blood, in greater quantities than through traditional whole blood donation.
During a whole blood donation, blood is collected as one unit that contains 55% plasma, 45% red blood cells, and <1% platelets. When you make a plasma donation, plasma is collected while your other blood components—red blood cells and platelets—are returned to you. A plasma donation provides three times the plasma for patients in need, compared to a whole blood donation! Plus, donors experience no fluid loss during plasma donation.
- How long does the process take?
A plasmapheresis donation appointment typically takes less than 90 minutes, with actual collection time of approximately 45 minutes.
- How often can I donate?
You can donate plasma every 28 days. Seven days later, you are eligible donate whole blood or platelets. You must wait 56 days between whole blood donations.
- Who can donate plasma?
Type AB blood is the universal plasma donor, and therefore male donors with type AB are encouraged to donate plasma. Male donors with type A+ blood may also be good candidates to donate plasma. Results from the standard mini-physical and confidential interview will also be used to determine eligibility.
- Why does Memorial Blood Centers elect to receive plasma only from males?
In 2013, Memorial Blood Centers switched to an all-male collection strategy for plasma in an effort to eliminate nearly all risk of TRALI (Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury)—a rare but serious complication—to plasma recipients.
Plasma contains antibodies thought to cause TRALI. These antibodies develop when an individual is exposed to cells from another person, such as during pregnancy or transfusion. This means that more women carry these antibodies than men. Plasma transfusions that contain these antibodies may lead to complications for recipients, including severe breathing problems and sometimes death.
Women who were plasma donors prior to 2013 are encouraged to get their platelet count tested to determine their eligibility for platelet donation. Platelets are another specialty blood component needed for treatment of hospital patients. Women may also consider a double red cell donation or whole blood donation.
To learn more about the blood components Memorial Blood Centers collects, please visit our About Blood page.
- Do I receive payment for my donation?
No. All donations made through Memorial Blood Centers are voluntary. In fact, plasma can only be transfused to a patient when it is donated voluntarily.
Contact us at 1-888-GIVE-BLD for additional information.
- Plasma Donations Brochure