Skip to content

How Often Can You Donate Plasma?

January 25, 2022

Plasma donation is an important, albeit lesser-known, type of donation. It is responsible for the creation of several different types of life-saving therapies for immunocompromised patients. 

Even though plasma is a component of blood, plasma donation and blood donation have notable differences. One of these differences is how frequently donors are permitted to donate. Plasma donors can safely give plasma up to twice per week. 

In this blog, we will be unpacking what the plasma donation process entails and why plasma donors can donate more frequently than blood donors. 

How Does Blood Plasma Donation Work?

Plasma donation is a four-step process that involves registering, screening, donating, and relaxing. Before prospective donors can give plasma, they first need to meet certain eligibility requirements and undergo screenings to ensure they are in good health. Some eligibility requirements for plasma donation include:

  • Being between 17 and 68 years of age
  • Weighing between 50-180 kg
  • Not having had a tattoo or piercing done in the past six months
  • Not having donated blood in the past 56 days

Once donors qualify to donate plasma, they can then proceed to the donating portion of the plasma donation process. This part of the process takes approximately 50 minutes to complete. During this time, donors are connected to a plasmapheresis machine, which separates plasma from other blood components and returns those other cellular components of blood to the body. Donors are free to read, watch TV, or listen to music while undergoing plasmapheresis. 

After a plasma donation has been made, donors can then relax and enjoy the snacks we provide in our waiting room. 

Why Donate Plasma Instead of Blood?

Both plasma and blood donations are used to do good and save lives, but there are a few reasons why you may opt to donate plasma over blood. 

If you’d like to specifically help patients living with immune disorders, autoimmune conditions, and rare blood disorders receive the treatments they need, plasma donation may be the right choice for you. Even though the plasmapheresis process is longer than the blood donation process, which takes about eight to 10 minutes to complete, it does enable larger quantities of plasma to be collected more frequently. That means more life-saving therapies for rare conditions can be made. 

Another reason you may want to donate plasma is compensation. Paid plasma donations are permitted throughout the U.S. and in certain provinces in Canada. Plasma donors receive compensation because of the time and effort that goes into giving plasma. It has also been proven time and time again that compensating donors is the only way to ensure a secure supply of plasma, as most of the global supply of plasma comes from countries that pay their donors. 

Why Can You Donate Plasma More Frequently Than Blood?

Whole blood donations can only be made every 56 days for males and every 84 days for females. Plasma donations, on the other hand, can be made twice in a seven-day period. This is because your body replenishes its plasma within 48 hours, but it can take anywhere from four to six weeks to replace blood. Since red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are returned to the body during plasmapheresis, it is safe for donors to give plasma more frequently. 

At Canadian Plasma Resources, you can earn up to $400/month by consistently donating plasma twice per week! Book a plasma donation appointment at a centre near you to help others while also supplementing your income.