Is Donating Plasma Good for Your Body? Benefits & Drawbacks

Medically Reviewed on 9/20/2022
Is Donating Plasma Good for Your Body
Learn about the potential benefits and risks of donating plasma

Donating plasma can improve the life of the donor and save the life of the recipient. 

Plasma is valuable and not considered a critical treatment option for many chronic conditions. Each donation is meticulously monitored by skilled personnel during the operation. 

Your health is not jeopardized by the amount of plasma taken, and your body replenishes it within 24 hours. In fact, there may be some health benefits to donating plasma.

What is plasma donation vs. whole blood donation?

Plasma donation, also known as plasmapheresis, is a procedure in which plasma, a liquid component of blood, is donated. Plasma is often used to treat liver disorders, burns, blood infections, and other diseases. 

Plasma donation differs from whole blood donation, in that plasma is the liquid component of blood that includes the components required for coagulation. Therefore, plasma donation is a more complex process since it requires separating plasma from blood and reinserting the leftover blood components into your arm.

4 benefits of donating plasma

1. Opportunity for a mini-checkup

Before you can donate blood or plasma, you must first go through a series of physical exams that check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. 

After your blood is drawn, it is transported to a lab to be tested for infectious illnesses such as HIV and West Nile virus. You will be alerted quickly if anything comes back positive.

Rigid screening informs the donors of their present health state and alerts them regarding any early indicators of sickness. 

2. Allows your blood to refresh

According to scientific studies, regular plasma and even whole blood donation provide health benefits for the donor. Donating plasma or whole blood renews the circulatory system, allowing the body to create a fresh supply of blood.

3. Boosts mood

Knowing that you are helping others can have a significant positive impact on your mental health. Many individuals find it more satisfying and meaningful to donate a portion of themselves to others.

4. Financial gain

Plasma donors get a compensatory fee for each extraction or donation. For many contributors, the money can go a long way toward covering food, rent, medication, and other necessities.

Payment is based on the amount of time it takes to donate the plasma, among other factors. This is because the amount of plasma a person can contribute is determined by their body weight, and the heavier the donor, the more plasma that is collected and the longer the extraction process. Each plasma collection center determines its own reimbursement rates.


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What are the potential drawbacks of donating plasma?

If you want to donate plasma, you must go through a thorough screening procedure as part of the plasma donation process. The screening method exists in part to protect people receiving donations, many of whom are in poor health. It also assures that the donors are in excellent enough physical health to prevent the adverse effects of plasma donation. This entire process may be uncomfortable for some donors. 

Other potential side effects of plasma donation include:

  • Dehydration
  • Vein damage
  • Calcium level depletion in the body
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and sleepiness
  • Fainting episodes
  • Collapse for several hours
  • Serious side effects that would require hospitalization to guarantee recovery
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Uncomfortable process of donation due to improper handling in some settings
  • Long lines at the plasma centers, crowded areas, and long waiting time
  • Long extraction time (can take about 45 to 60 minutes)

Knowing the possible risks of donating plasma may be helpful for a donor to complete the entire procedure safely and in an ethical manner.

Medically Reviewed on 9/20/2022
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