The process of Plasma Donation

Recovered Plasma & Plasmapheresis

Plasma is a protein present in the blood that allows the rest of the blood components to circulate throughout the body. Plasma supports the immune system. It contributes to stopping excessive bleeding in the body. That is why plasma donations are very important as part of the treatment of bleeding disorders. Plasmapheresis is the process that collects the plasma. During this process, the blood is removed, the plasma is collected, and the rest of the blood components are returned.

Plasma donation is a process similar to Blood donation characterised by steps such as registration, physical exam, screening, donation and (in some countries) compensation. There are several plasma collection methods used as part of the process: “recovered plasma” which is the separation of the plasma after a normal blood donation and “apheresis” characterised by a collection of plasma with a reincorporation of the rest of blood components into the blood.

The apheresis is the more efficient method due to the collection a greater volume of plasma for every donation.

 The steps of this process in a commercial setting are as follows:

  1. The possible donor attends a Plasma Donation Centre. Screening, Testing and requirements to become a donor have changed over the decades.

  2. Plasmapheresis Procedure. The plasmapheresis starts with the insertion of a needle in the arm with the aim to draw blood. It should be only be undertaken by a trained professional. After that, the donor will be connected to a specialised plasmapheresis device. This device will remove the blood and will separate the plasma from the other blood components. Once this process is done the device will return the rest of the blood components to the body. This process can have a duration of about 90 minutes.

  3. Post Donation: The donor needs rest after the procedure. The mechanism of compensation (payment for the donation) differs depending on the country in which the donation is given.

  4. Storage of the plasma. The collected plasma is packaged, separate in bags and stored at 20°C.