How to Find a Local Plasma Center

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This article discusses some basic information about donating plasma, benefits (both financial and humanitarian), and online resources to locate plasma donation centers. Donors may be compensated for their efforts and donors can feel proud to be assisting in saving lives.

Things You'll Need

  • Directory of Plasma Centers
  • Healthy Blood
  • Transportation to Plasma Center
  • Photo Identification

Eligibility

If you are interested in donating plasma, you can do so only after a blood test which will detect abnormalities such as high blood sugar, HIV/Aids, and hepatitis, among other screening identifiers including blood type. This information is listed as the “first step” because if your blood contains abnormalities, you won’t be accepted as a donor. Also, donors must disclose their medical history. Donors must also be over 18 years of age and must weigh more than 110 pounds.

You can locate plasma centers using online directories. The best known website belongs to www.bloodbanker.com. You can search by state, company names, or by zip code at their website.

After locating a local plasma center and meeting eligibility requirements, the next step is to actually begin the plasma donation process. As mentioned in step one, blood screening tests will determine if you are eligible to donate. Plasma may be donated two times per week without adverse health risks.

To begin the donation process, blood is drawn through a single use tube which is connected to an automated system. Only the most needed component is donated while the remainder is returned to the donor’s body. This process can take from about one to three hours dependent upon height, weight, and the amount of plasma being donated.

While the automated system is operating, plasma centers often play music or provide television or DVD viewing to make the time go by faster. Plasma donors may experience short-term side effects such as lightheadedness and numbness or tingling of the lips, fingers, or nose.

The final step for donors seeking compensation is to get paid. Unfortunately, government social welfare agencies usually require reporting of money paid for blood and plasma donations as income in determining eligible welfare benefits.

Tips & Warnings

  • Safety measures usually prohibit donors from donating for several days after each donation.
  • Donating plasma can be risky if donors don't replenish blood regularly. Donors should not attempt to donate plasma at different centers to avoid time restrictions between visits in order to avoid risks that can arise from blood deficiencies.

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