Plasma is the liquid part of blood that transports blood cells, nutrients, and other essential substances throughout the body. When you donate plasma, your fluids and other blood components—red blood cells and platelets—are returned to you. Plasma donors provide three times the amount of plasma contained in a whole blood donation.
You can donate plasma at all NCBB donor centers. Only male donors are eligible to donate plasma (please see below).
Blood types most needed: A+, B+, AB+, AB-
Type AB donors are universal plasma donors, meaning their plasma can be given to anyone in need.
Plasma Donation FAQ
- Why donate plasma?
Plasma acts as a carrier for blood cells, nutrients, enzymes, and hormones, and contains clotting factors that can be critical to recovery and survival for newborn babies and patients undergoing 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.
Plasma can only be transfused to a patient when it is donated voluntarily, which is why Nebraska Community Blood Bank collects plasma from volunteer donors only. Plasma can also be used to make special medications that help patients with weakened immune systems resist infection and disease.
- Am I eligible?
In addition to general donor eligibility requirements (such as age, weight, and health status), only males are eligible to donate plasma with Nebraska Community Blood Bank (details below). Blood types A+, B+, AB+, and AB- are especially needed for plasma donations. Type AB blood is the universal plasma donor, and males with type AB are encouraged to donate plasma.
- How long does a plasma donation take?
From check-in to cookies, plasma donation typically takes 90 minutes or less. The time spent actually donating is usually 45 minutes or less. During your donation, you can use the internet, watch TV, or simply relax. Your donor specialist will monitor you throughout your donation.
- How often can I donate plasma?
Plasma can be donated every 28 days. Starting 7 days after donating plasma, you may be eligible to donate whole blood or platelets.
- Why does Nebraska Community Blood Bank elect to receive plasma only from males?
Nebraska Community Blood Bank collects plasma only from males 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 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. Female platelet donors may be eligible to donate concurrent plasma, meaning that plasma and platelets are donated at the same time. Women may also consider a double red cell donation or whole blood donation.
- Do I receive payment for my donation?
No. All donations made through Nebraska Community Blood Bank are voluntary. In fact, plasma can only be transfused to a patient when it is donated voluntarily.