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What to Expect When You Donate Plasma: A Guide for First-Time Donors

avril 24, 2021

Plasma donation is an incredible act that can change the lives of others for the better. It can also be a great way to make some extra money if you live in a province where paid plasma donations are permitted. 

If you’re thinking about becoming a plasma donor and are wondering what the process will entail, you’re in luck! Here’s the ultimate guide to plasma donation for first-time donors.

What is plasma?

Plasma is a yellowish liquid component of blood that contains vital proteins. It helps to maintain blood pressure and volume, carries electrolytes to our muscles, supports cell function, and supplies critical proteins for blood clotting and immunity. When healthy plasma is donated, it can be used to treat a wide range of autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, and blood disorders.

Am I eligible to donate plasma?

In order to donate plasma, you must be in good health and meet certain eligibility requirements. At Canadian Plasma Resources, donors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be between 17 and 68 years of age.
  • Weigh between 50 kg to 180 kg.
  • Have not had a tattoo or piercing done in the past six months.
  • Have not donated blood in the past 56 days.
  • Have a permanent address within 100 kilometres of a Canadian Plasma Resources facility.

At your first appointment, you will be asked to present valid photo identification, proof of address, and a social insurance card. You will also undergo a screening process that involves answering a questionnaire, being interviewed, and having a medical examination and testing performed on two separate occasions within a 26-week period.

What is the process to donate plasma?

If you meet all the eligibility requirements to become a plasma donor, you can then proceed to the donation portion of the plasma donation process. Plasma is collected through a specialized donation procedure known as plasmapheresis. During the plasmapheresis procedure, you will be intravenously connected to a medical device known as an apheresis machine that will separate plasma from whole blood and return the rest of your blood to your body. This portion of the plasma donation process takes approximately 50 minutes to complete.

After you’ve completed your plasma donation, you will be encouraged to rest, relax, and enjoy refreshments in our centre’s waiting room for 10 minutes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re currently keeping snacks and drinks behind our reception desk, but our reception staff are always more than willing to hand them out when donors ask! During this time, you can also schedule your next appointment.

How long does it take to donate blood plasma?

From start to finish, you can expect the entire plasma donation process, including the registering and screening portions, to take approximately two hours and 30 minutes as a first-time donor. Subsequent donation appointments will be easier and faster. Appointments for repeat donors typically take around one hour and 30 minutes.

Are plasma donations paid or unpaid?

Both paid and unpaid plasma donations exist in Canada. Whether or not you’ll be compensated for your plasma donation depends on where you live and what company you’re making the donation with. 

At Canadian Plasma Resources, we compensate our donors for the time and effort they put into giving plasma. Donors at our centres in Saskatoon and Moncton have the opportunity to earn up to $400/month for their contributions. We also have monthly prize draws where donors are automatically entered to win $100 gift cards if they give plasma during that month!

Plasma donation is a great way to give back and get some much-needed me-time. As a donor at Canadian Plasma Resources, you can also supplement your income with the compensation you receive for your donations. If you’d like to become a plasma donor, book an appointment at a centre near you today!