Here you will find answers to the most common questions related to blood donation, the Stem Cell Registry and the Blood Service.

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Blood donation

Are there any risks associated with plasma donation?

Plasma donation is a safe procedure, but it involves a small number of donor-specific harms, as is the case with whole blood and platelet donation.

The aim is to minimise adverse effects by determining the amount to collect based on sex and weight, and by providing saline solution through an intravenous drip after donation to compensate for the loss of fluid.


Blood donation

Can anyone book an appointment to donate plasma?

You can book an appointment if you meet the requirements for plasma donation. The Blood Service also calls up plasma donors separately.

The Blood Service hopes that donors with AB+ and B+ blood groups in particular will donate plasma, because their blood is needed less often for patients than blood from other blood groups.

In plasma donations, blood group is irrelevant when components are separated from the plasma and used as a raw material for medicines.

Blood donation

How much more plasma can the Blood Service collect with plasmapheresis?

Plasmaphaeresis activity will be initiated on a small scale, and will be of little significance to the total amount of plasma collected by the Blood Service when operations begin. The majority of plasma will continue to come from whole blood donations, with plasmapheresis accounting for approximately 5% annually.

Blood donation

Where does the donated plasma end up?

The plasma raw material cannot be further processed in Finland, so the Blood Service sells the plasma donated by Finnish blood donors to Takeda’s pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Austria. Finnish hospitals order plasma-derived medicines needed to treat patients from pharmaceutical distributors operating in Finland.

Blood donation

Why did the Blood Service stop collecting plasma in 2014?

The Blood Service collected plasma through plasmapheresis from the 1970s until 2014. At that time, the decision to discontinue the mechanical collection of plasma was made for medical and economic reasons – there was no longer the specific need for apheresis plasma in Finland, as the development of production processes meant that the origin of the plasma used in plasma preparations was no longer as significant as it was previously. Additionally, plasmapheresis activities were no longer profitable.

In 2024, plasmapheresis operations will begin again, as the situation has changed, and there has been a shortage of plasma raw material in Europe for years. The European Blood Alliance (EBA), which represents European blood banks, the Council of Europe, and the EU Commission have recognised the need to increase European plasma collection and reduce dependence on plasma from the US.

Blood donation

Why is plasma donation only possible at the Jumbo-Flamingo unit?

Plasma is collected through apheresis devices that are used by trained nurses. All of the Blood Service’s apheresis donations (plasma and platelets) are therefore centralised in a single location.

Blood donation

Why is the Blood Service starting to collect plasma (plasmapheresis) separately again?

In recent years, there has been growing concern in Europe about the sufficiency of plasma for the manufacture of medicinal plasma products. The COVID-19 pandemic further reduced the availability of plasma, at the same time as the need for plasma as a raw material for plasma-derived medicinal products has increased.

Most of the world’s plasma is currently collected in the USA – Europe’s self-sufficiency in plasma raw material is only about 60%. For several years now, there has been a shortage of medicinal plasma products, especially immunoglobulin products, in Europe.

The Blood Service is responding to the situation by relaunching plasmapheresis operations after a ten-year break.

Blood donation

Why is there an upper weight limit for plasma donation (BMI below 40)?

The upper limit for BMI is 40, as it can be more difficult to determine blood volume in a donor who is overweight, and there is a risk of collecting too much plasma in relation to the donor’s blood volume.

Blood donation

Why must plasma donors have previously donated whole blood?

If the donor’s body tolerated whole blood donation well, this indicates that there will be no problems with plasma donation, either. This also means that the donor’s veins were found to be suitable for blood/apheresis donation.