Thinking About Plasma Donation? Good.

Thinking About Plasma Donation?


Woman donating blood in busy hospital donation bank

Today I went to donate blood plasma for the very first time. I have been in a bind for cash, with Shasta needing another bag of very expensive food (she’s got allergies, just like her Mom!) and a round of vaccinations. I was pretty hesitant about it. Donating whole blood in and of itself is very frightening to many, but I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t that bad! You are compensated for your time and you are doing a GREAT thing for those who need plasma donations.

Here’s what I can tell you about Plasma Donation:

  1. The first time you donate, you will have to arrive fairly early. There are a lot of regulations and requirements for donating plasma, including answering the same questions over and over again. The staff was very helpful in explaining the process and answering any and all questions I had, including the qualifications of the people working in the facility. I was informed that in my facility all of the people working in the lab had acquired a minimum of an EMT or an LPN education.
  2. You have to pass the test. When you donate plasma they have to ensure that you first have a healthy amount of iron and blood proteins to be able to donate – they don’t want to take it if you need it more! This involved a finger prick to take a small sample of blood. You also have to undergo a short physical exam in which a nurse examines your lymphnodes to ensure you do not have an infection/are sick, and the check your general health.
  3. You’re compensated for a reason. The entire process took four hours for us to complete, with all of the first time donor requirements for reading and testing. They compensate you for this time. They don’t compensate for donating blood, because that does not take nearly as long.
  4. The plasmapheresis itself might be a little frightening if you usually are afraid of having routine blood work done, or hate having an IV placed in the hospital. I recommend not looking when they place it, just to be safe! image
  5. The plasmapheresis process took about an hour for me. It is faster for some, depending on your blood volume, clotting factors, and a million other things I’m not aware of.  It ran in three cycles, withdrawing blood and removing the plasma. I was able to see the plasma as it was collected (it is that straw colored liquid in the image) so I could gauge how close I was to being through.
  6. They STRONGLY encourage you to return. Not only is your donation important, but you MUST donate again for them to use the plasma you donated on your first visit. Regulations require that the plasma be tested twice for any abnormalities  for it to be used to make the important medications that it is used for. It also takes SIX plasma donations to make ONE plasma-based medication. These medications are used for patients with ailments varying from severe burns and hemophilia to pregnant mothers with an Rh factor incompatibility. Visit this page to learn more about who benefits from your plasma donations. image
  7. Once I was finished, I was able to pick up a pre-loaded VISA card, and head back out into the world, with both some extra money, and a new found knowledge on the importance of plasma donation.

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, simply a human who donated. This is my experience, and they may vary depending on the facility and person. For more information on plasma donation, please visit