Plasma Donation – Myths vs. Facts

bio mat image Justin Adams

For years – myths, misconceptions and rumors have prevented people from becoming plasma donors, who help to save lives of thousands of patients who suffer from rare and chronic conditions. Plasma, a portion of the blood, contains hundreds of essential proteins and antibodies that help maintain critical body functions such as controlling bleeding and fighting infections.

Myth #1: Donating plasma puts you at risk of getting sick

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulate plasma donor centers and limits the number of donations to twice in a seven-day period with two days between each donation. This allows the body to replenish the fluids and proteins lost during the donation process.

Eating a balanced meal and consuming plenty of fluids before and after donation helps mitigate any reactions.

Myth #2: Plasma donations are used only for research

Even though research is critical for the advancement of science and medicine, only a very small number of plasma donations are used for research. The majority are used to produce important medicines.

Plasma donations are not only used to make medicines to treat patients with rare and chronic conditions but also to treat victims of severe shock, trauma and burns. They are also used to provide temporary immunity in life-threatening situations like potential exposure to rabies, tetanus and hepatitis A or B.

Myth #3: Plasma donor centers target only the disadvantaged

Plasma donors give for various reasons. Some know someone that depends on or has used a plasma medicine in the past. Others donate because they know they are helping people in their community.

Since it takes 90 minutes to donate plasma compared to less than 10 minutes for a blood donation, plasma donors are compensated for their time and effort it takes to be a regular donor. Only plasma from repeat donors who show proof of a permanent address is used to make plasma medicines.

Myth #4: Many donate to support unhealthy lifestyles

Strict health screenings are conducted at the beginning of each donation to help ensure that the donor is healthy. In fact, donors undergo a physical exam not only at their first donation but also once a year if they donate regularly. Every single donation is also tested for transmissible diseases. Throughout the entire process, a donor interacts with a minimum of four staff members who are trained to identify signs and symptoms that suggests an unhealthy lifestyle. If a donor does not pass the strict health screening criteria, he or she cannot donate plasma.

Learn more about being a plasma donor by visiting our Salt Lake Area centers or at