What You Need to Know About Donating Plasma
It was donations of plasma that helped save Shawn’s life when she was diagnosed with hypogammaglobulinemia—a condition that reduces a person’s immunity levels to half or even a third of what they should be. Find out how plasma has helped Shawn live a full and healthy life.
Plasma is the protein-rich liquid in blood that helps other blood components circulate throughout your body. It supports your immune system and helps control excessive bleeding, which is why plasma donations are important to help treat bleeding disorders, liver diseases and cancer in patients like Shawn.
How plasma is collected
At Canadian Blood Services, we collect plasma either by separating it from whole blood after a whole blood donation, or by using a special collection process called apheresis. Apheresis is a medical technique in which the plasma portion of your blood is separated during donation, and all your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are returned to you.
Plasma is used both for transfusions and for fractionation, which processes plasma into a range of specialized proteins for therapeutic use.
Am I eligible to donate plasma?
Any healthy person who meets our eligibility criteria can donate plasma as frequently as every seven days. To become a plasma donor, we typically prefer that you have a history of making regular blood donations, but this is not always necessary.
If your blood type is AB, you are a universal donor for plasma. AB is the most in-demand type of plasma, as it can be received by anyone of any blood type. If your blood type is O negative (O-), you are a universal red blood cell donor and we encourage you to make whole blood donations instead.
How do I donate plasma?
Plasma clinics are booked by appointment only. If you are thinking of making your first plasma donation or want to book an appointment, call the local number for your region. You can find the number and clinic location here.
Ask at your next whole blood donation to learn more about donating plasma.
Our plasma products
Recovered plasma is separated from whole blood and used in fractionated products such as albumin, immune globulin (Ig), and others to treat bleeding, immunodeficiency disorders and more.
Fresh frozen plasma
Fresh frozen plasma is made from recovered plasma for transfusion only, and is used to treat patients with bleeding disorders, liver diseases and cancer. It is also used for bone marrow therapy.
Source plasma is collected by apheresis and can be frozen as FFP or used for fractionation.
Learn more about our commitment to increasing plasma sufficiency in Canada.