The concept of donating your plasma can sound weird to many as it is not very common today like blood donation. But Plasma Donation is similar to blood donations and to say much more safe and healthy for the human body than blood transfusions. In this type of donation only plasma, the liquid part of the blood is taken out and the blood is sent back to the donor body. Though this looks very complex to hear, but this is carried out without causing much pain to the donor. Plasma comes along with many medical benefits associated with it, it is utilized in the development of various medicines and also is used for clinical researches in laboratories.
Plasma is extracted from the human blood at the Plasma Donation Center in different ways to make use of the substance in various ways. The three ways that are majorly used for the extraction process are:
- Plasma transfusions
Plasma transfusions: It is the process in which first the entire blood is taken from a human body. The plasma is then separated from the blood by apheresis and is stored at frozen state. This stored substance is called as fresh frozen plasma (FFP). Whenever the plasma is needed it is thawed and given as a transfusion to another person.
Such Plasma transfusions comes very useful in treating patients who are bleeding due to serious accident or undergoing major surgery where clotting factors need replacing as well as red blood cells.
Fractionation: In this process different plasma donation samples are mixed (pooled) and are subjected to different heat and chemical treatments thus separating all the various proteins from the plasma. This is a very complex procedure and can take up to 5 days. The samples that are collected for the pools go through strict tests and checking to trace for all viruses and antibodies. Then the pooled plasma is carefully filtered and cleaned using heat, detergents and solvents to remove all possible viruses that may be present in it. After the fractionation process has been completed, the plasma products are either freeze dried as a powder for reconstitution before use or are stored as a liquid.
Such extractions can be useful in treating patients with the medical condition such as haemophilia.
Plasmapheresis: This is a plasma exchange method in which a cell separator machine is used to separate the plasma from the human blood. In this process a needle is inserted into a donor’s vein on the arm and the blood is extracted and passed through the cell separator. The plasma is separated from the blood in this machine and the left blood is returned back through a needle by the vein in the other arm to the donor’s body. During this process, only a little amount of blood (less than 100ml) will be taken out from the body at a single time as the blood is being removed and returned at the same rate from the body throughout the process. This procedure takes up to 2 hours to extract the required amount of plasma from a single donor.
Plasmapheresis or plasma exchange is often used to treat patients with rare blood conditions and clotting disorder.
However, all these methods are carried out maintaining full hygiene and care of the donor. Also the donor has to pass through certain tests prior to the extraction in order to get approved for Plasma Donation. Once passed through all the tests, all healthy adults can donate their plasma twice a month at any Plasma Donation Center. The donors are also been paid for giving their Plasma Donation.