Plasma-derived medicines are vital medicinal products that are widely used in the treatment of various diseases. For example, in patients with severe antibody deficiencies, they are the only treatment option. At a conventional blood donation appointment, you donate whole blood, but when you donate plasma, a machine collects plasma only.
You can donate plasma if you have previously donated whole blood at least once. This page contains information about how plasma is donated and eligibility to become a plasma donor.
Plasma donation in Vantaa
Plasma can only be donated at the Blood Service’s Vantaa unit.
Plasma donation is called plasmapheresis, or apheresis for short. It takes place similarly to blood donation, but the device only collects plasma and returns the other parts, i.e. red blood cells and platelets, back to the donor’s bloodstream. The donation takes around 45 minutes, and it is a good idea to reserve a little over an hour for the visit, including time for coffee.
At the Jumbo-Flamingo site, you can also donate platelets only, i.e. thrombocytes, in thrombopheresis.
Who can donate plasma?
As a rule, the same basic requirements for donor eligibility apply to plasma donation as for whole blood donation, but deferral periods related to travel or living abroad, for example, do not need to be taken into account at all.
The plasma donor should weigh at least 60 kg and have a body mass index (BMI) of max 40.
In plasma donations, blood group is irrelevant when components are separated from the plasma and used as a raw material for medicines – unlike in whole blood donation. Therefore, donors who have blood groups AB+ and B+ are preferred as plasma donors, because their blood is needed less often for patients than blood from other blood groups.
We recommend that donors with other blood groups (e.g., A+, O+, O-) continue with normal blood donations to help patients!
Why should I donate only plasma?
Plasma is also separated from ordinary whole blood donations, but the amount collected by plasmapheresis is about three times higher.
There is a need for plasma, as the use of plasma-derived medicines is growing significantly – and there has been a shortage of plasma raw material in Europe for several years.
The plasma collected in Finland is delivered to Blood Service’s partner Takeda, where it is used to produce medicinal products.
Will I get paid for donating plasma?
In Finland, blood donors are not paid for the plasma they donate, nor for any other blood donations/apheresis donations. The principle of free and voluntary blood donation is laid down in the Blood Service Act.
Who is given plasma or plasma-derived medicine?
Plasma contains several important constituents: antibodies, coagulation factors and other proteins. The necessary constituents can also be separated from plasma and produced into medicinal products. For example, coagulation factors can be concentrated from plasma and used to treat haemorrhagic diseases, coagulation factor deficiencies, and bleeding.
A protein separated from plasma, albumin, can be given to burn and shock patients as fluid therapy, while plasma immunoglobulins are used in medicines for patients with antibody deficiencies and to prevent inflammatory diseases.
How often can you donate plasma?
The minimum interval between a plasma and platelet donation and between two plasma donations is 14 days. The interval between plasma donation and conventional blood donation must be at least 30 days for men and 45 days for women. In other words, the maximum number of plasma donations per year is 25.
How to donate plasma
1. Book an appointment and fill out an electronic health questionnaire
You must book an appointment in advance to donate plasma.
Before donating, fill out an electronic health questionnaire. The health questionnaire and nurse’s interview are designed to ensure your safety and the safety of the recipient. Please answer accurately and honestly.
2. Avoid fatty foods before donating plasma
The donor’s diet may have an impact on how fatty the plasma is and consequently on the success of donation. If the plasma is cloudier than normal, i.e. fattier (lipaemic), it will prevent the further processing and use of the donated plasma.
To prevent lipaemic plasma, plasma donors should avoid fatty meals for 3-4 hours before blood donation, such as fried foods, sausages and cheeses that are high in fat, pastries, eggs, cream- and mayonnaise-based foods, and creamy drinks such as milkshakes. Alcohol also causes lipaemia and should be avoided for the 24 hours preceding donation.
Of course, you should not be hungry when you come to donate, so we recommend a light meal/snack beforehand (e.g. a sandwich/fruit/fresh juice).
3. Donation begins with registration
Please register at the reception where we will confirm your identity before each donation. Please bring your personal ID with you.
4. Coffee or juice
Have a cup of coffee or a glass of juice.
5. We will interview you and measure your blood haemoglobin concentration
Next, you will go through the health questionnaire with a nurse. The conversation will be conducted between the two of you and all information shared will be confidential.
Before plasma donation, your haemoglobin levels will be checked from a sample of blood taken from your fingertip. Plasma can be donated if the donor’s blood haemoglobin concentration is 125–175 g/l for women and 135–195 g/l for men.
We will also ask you your height and weight so that we can calculate exactly how much plasma to collect.
6. Donation takes just under an hour – time to relax
If you meet all of the requirements for donation, you will be directed to a donation bed. 750 or 850 millilitres of plasma is collected in a single donation.
Plasma donation takes about 30-45 minutes. During this time you will be able to use the WiFi network and browse a good selection of magazines and newspapers. At the end of your plasma donation, you will be given an intravenous drip of saline solution to compensate for the loss of fluid.
Plasma donation should not be painful. Please tell the nurse if you feel unwell during the collection, or if the needle causes you discomfort. You may ask the nurse to discontinue the donation process at any time and you do not need to justify your request.
7. Enjoy a snack and take it easy for the rest of the day
We offer donors coffee and tea and a light snack, so please have a seat and enjoy the services in the cafeteria. This will help your body recover from the donation.
The plasma you lose during donation will be replaced in about a week. Plasma donation does not lower haemoglobin, so it will not affect your physical performance. You should take it easy on the day of donation, and avoid exercise, sauna and excessive sweating. It is important to drink enough liquid, particularly in the summer.
Leave the dressing on your arm in place and avoid heavy lifting for at least four hours to keep the vein from bleeding and causing a bruise.
8. After donating
If during the blood donation or at any time afterwards you realise you have forgotten to inform us of anything that might affect the safety of the plasma you have donated, please contact the donation site immediately or call the free information number for donors on +358 800 0 5801.
After donating blood, please contact us if:
• you develop a fever within a week of your donation
• you are diagnosed with a serious illness (such as cancer) within a month of donating blood, or
• you find out that you or your sexual partner has been infected with a blood-borne disease (such as HIV or hepatitis B or C).
9. We hope to see you again!
Book your next donation appointment during your visit or by calling +358 29 300 1884. You can donate plasma again in as little as 14 days.
Thank you for your help!
Would you like further information about plasma donation? Call us on +358 (0)29 300 1884.