Plasma is a vital part of your circulatory system. It is the liquid portion of the blood. Health professionals use it to make the therapies that treat life-threatening, chronic and genetic diseases. Plasma is the essential groundwork for for a wide range of life-saving and health enhancing medicines. Plasma donors are always needed, but a number of deciding factors determine who can donate and when they can donate.
Your background history of illness may prevent you from donating plasma. If you have a serious or chronic condition that may affect the quality of your plasma, you will not be able to donate. This includes conditions such as syphilis, HIV or Hepatitis types A, B and C.
Donation centers require that all donors be in acceptable physical condition before they donate any plasma. In the United States, all potential plasma donors are required to submit to a pre-donation physical screening to test their general health. Potential donors are also tested for any transmittable viruses. During this screening, blood will be drawn to check the body's total plasma protein levels, to ensure the donor has effective plasma suitable for donation.
Women who have been pregnant at any time cannot donate plasma. Pregnant women are at risk to develop what is known as transfusion related acute lung injury, or TRALI. TRALI is not completely understood, but is normally related to blood transfusion patients. It is believed to be associated with antibodies that the body produces during blood transfusions or in this case, pregnancy. Any woman who has been or is currently pregnant will not be allowed to donate plasma for her own safety.
There is a frequency limit to donating plasma. The human body can typically replace plasma within 24 to 48 hours. This depends on the donor keeping a healthy diet that includes the proper amount of proteins, vitamins and fluids. Federal regulations limit a plasma donor to only two times per week. Within a seven-day period he may donate twice, with two days in between the donations.