Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most often asked questions about the process of plasma donation and how to become a plasma donor.

What is plasma?

Plasma is the liquid portion of blood and is made up of various blood proteins, including antibodies.

More Info: About 50-60% of a person’s blood volume consists of plasma. The other main blood components are red/white blood cells and platelets. All these components combined are referred to as whole blood. Unlike whole blood donation, which can only take place once every 56 days, plasma is quickly replaced by your body.

What are antibodies?

Antibodies are a part of the immune system that helps identify and defend against foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria.

More Info: The body creates antibodies to fight off “outside” invaders like infectious diseases. However, sometimes a person’s immune system may produce what is known as an autoimmune a response. When this happens, antibodies target a person’s own body and can cause an autoimmune disorder.

Why are antibodies needed?

The medical diagnostic industry relies on antibody rich plasma donations from people like you in order to make test kits and aid in the research and the development of new and better test kits.

More Info: Your plasma donation may also be used to make sure that existing test kits are working properly.

How does donating plasma differ from donating blood?

During plasma donation, only a safe amount of blood is removed from the donor by an automated machine. The machine then separates and collects only the plasma, and the red cells are returned to the donor.

More Info: Unlike whole blood donation, you may safely donate plasma up to twice per week. Plasma is quickly replaced by your body through normal eating, drinking and daily activities. You may only donate whole blood once every 56 days.

How will I be selected as a specialty plasma donor?

To qualify, complete our donor form as thoroughly as possible. Please be prepared to share any recent lab work to help with the qualification process. Once our team reviews your form, you will receive a response within a few days about your eligibility to submit a blood sample or a request for additional information / lab work.

More Info: Not everyone qualifies for our donor program, and most donors give a blood sample prior to plasma donation for PSG to determine current antibody levels. To facilitate sample collection, PSG often sends you a sample collection kit so we can coordinate with a phlebotomist to draw a sample at your home or office.

What if I have been rejected from plasma donation in the past because of my diagnosis?

PSG is not a regular plasma donation center. We want you as a specialty plasma donor BECAUSE of your diagnosis!

More Info: PSG specifically recruits donors with autoimmune and/or infectious disease diagnoses. We ask that you list ALL DIAGNOSES as accurately as possible on our online donor form.

Are there any other requirements for me to become a specialty plasma donor?

You must be at least 18 years of age, possess a valid ID, and weigh at least 110 lbs.

More Info: The day of donation, your vital signs, weight, and iron levels will be checked to ensure that you are healthy enough to donate and will not be adversely affected by the donation process.

What do I do now that I received my sample collection kit?

After your kit, a phlebotomy service will reach out to you to schedule a sample draw at a convenient time and location. The phlebotomist will draw your sample tubes and ship them back to PSG.

More Info: Ensure that the contact information you provide on the online donor form is up to date so the phlebotomy service can easily get in touch with you. If you have any issues with or questions about the sample collection, please follow-up with our donor liaison and/or the phlebotomy service.

If I qualify as a specialty plasma donor, when will I be notified?

Once PSG receives your sample, we will begin to test it at our laboratory and contact you within 6-8 weeks about your eligibility.

More Info: Even though you may not initially qualify for plasma donation, PSG will retain your sample and contact information. We may test your sample on new test kits and evaluate it for new sample collection and research projects. If you qualify for a new collection or donation opportunity, we will reach out to you to see if you are still interested.

Can I find out my test results?

PSG is NOT a clinical lab and, therefore, we CANNOT share any test results with you.

More Info: PSG is a research lab, and the results we generate are not meant to aid in your diagnosis or the treatments provided to you by your physician’s.

Will I need a doctor’s note?

If you are being treated by a physician, PSG will ask your doctor to provide a note stating your healthy enough to donate.

More Info: The doctor note will also list your diagnoses and current medications and must have your physician’s signature. PSG’s donor liaison will obtain your doctor’s information and fax the form directly to the office.

What if I do not have a doctor or have trouble getting a doctor’s note?

If you cannot obtain a doctor’s note from a treating physician, PSG may ask that you be seen by a medical professional or by a medical director at the donor center who will evaluate you.

More Info: This pre-donation evaluation ensures that you are healthy enough to donate. We prefer that your treating physician provide the doctor’s note, but we understand that this can sometimes be difficult.

If there isn’t a plasma donation center near me, will PSG pay for me to travel?

Yes! If there isn’t a donation center near you that performs specialty plasma donations, we will cover travel expenses.

More Info: PSG utilizes donor centers across the USA, and you will always donate at an FDA registered and/or licensed center.

What should I expect for my first donation?

Plan to spend up to 2 hours at the donor center. You will be asked about your medical history and may be given a standard urinalysis or other lab tests as required by the FDA. When it is time to donate, a medical professional or phlebotomist will place a sterile needle in your arm and begin the donation process.

More Info: To ensure your safety and comfort, you will be monitored throughout the process by a trained professional.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for plasma donation?

Yes! Please hydrate, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine and eat a low-fat meal the day before and the day of donation.

More Info: Also try to get a good night’s rest the day before donation and ample rest between donations if you are donating twice within a 7 day period.

How safe is specialty plasma donation?

Plasma donation is performed safely throughout the United States every day.

More Info: In the USA alone, over 13 million successful plasma collections are performed each year. Plasma donations are one of the most highly regulated procedures in the American health industry. The entire procedure is aseptic, so all supplies used during the process are sterile and NEVER reused. A medical professional will observe the entire donation and you can stop the donation process at any time if you are not feeling well or you become uncomfortable. Though rare, some individuals may have adverse reactions to plasma donation that include: bruising and swelling at the sight where the needle enters the arm, light-headedness, nausea, and fainting. Before you donate, you will read and sign an Informed Consent that lists all possible risks associated with venipuncture and plasma donation.

Is my donation confidential and private?

Yes! Even though your plasma donations are used by research and diagnostic companies other than PSG, your identity and contact information are NEVER released.

More Info: For regulatory and research purposes, PSG may share demographic information such as age, sex, race and medical history information like medications; however, your identity is ALWAYS de-linked. Your decision to participate in the program will not be disclosed to anyone other than your physician, the donor center and regulatory agencies such as the FDA that have the responsibility and authority to review records during an audit of blood establishments.

Is there more information I need to know before I donate?

If you are selected for an apheresis donation, after donation a sample of your plasma will be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis at a CLIA certified lab.

More Info: This testing is required by the FDA. Should you test positive, you will be advised to consult your physician.

Watch this video if you are interested in Donating plasma for research!

Help the laboratory diagnostic industry improve testing methods.
Donate plasma for research! Qualified participants are compensated with money.

If you have any questions or concerns about becoming a plasma donor that are not addressed in our FAQ, please send us a message with the contact form below and our Donor Liaison will respond to your inquiry.

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