Who can donate plasma?
Anyone aged 18 and above may donate plasma. Please note: the first plasma donation must take place before the day of your 66th birthday and you need to have donated blood at least once before.
Beyond your 66th birthday, plasma donations are permitted only if your last donation occurred less than 3 years ago.
You need to be in good health and weigh at least 50 kg.
Whether or not you are suitable to donate blood will be established at a medical interview ahead of the donation.
This type of collection requires you to have “good veins”.
Where and when can you donate plasma?
You may donate plasma only at one of our permanent blood collection centres as this requires the use of specific equipment. You will find the dates/times, addresses and telephone on this page.
We also run a freephone number which you can call for any questions you may have: 0800 92 245.
How often can I give plasma?
You may donate plasma every 2 weeks, but no more than 23 times per year.
Do I need to have a specific blood group in order to be allowed to donate plasma?
NO! We need all blood groups!
In which kind of situations do you use the plasma donated?
The plasma is transfused as it is (e.g. in the event of serious bleeds) or it is used to make medicines which cannot otherwise be obtained and which enable us to treat various diseases (haemophilia, insufficient natural immune defences, extensive burns, etc.).
Are the blood products safe?
We have a variety of different measures in place to ensure the utmost safety of all blood transfusions:
- Donations are voluntary and charitable;
- Prior to all donations, donors have a medical interview to ensure they are suitable to donate;
- All donations are biologically screened and tested;
- The plasma is processed so as to reduce the possible presence of viruses or bacteria;
- Donors are asked to get back to us after the donation if they believe that transfusing their blood poses a risk. In that case, their donation is discarded. If you are in doubt or if you believe there is a risk, please call us at 078 051 053.
Moreover, we have a quality system in place in order to control all procedures in connection with the activities of the Blood Service.
Do you sell the plasma?
Part of the plasma collected goes to a pharmaceutical company at a price that is regulated and established by the State.
To efficiently treat a wide number of serious diseases, plasma is the only source that is currently available to produce certain essential medicines such as antibodies (immunoglobulins) and certain coagulation factors.
The specific production process of these medicines requires the kind of expertise and infrastructure which the pharmaceutical industry has and the Red Cross does not.
Same as with blood donations, the aim is to save lives.
Before the donation
Do I need to make an appointment to donate plasma?
Yes! This technique requires the use of specific equipment. Which is why it is performed only at one of our permanent blood collection centres and by appointment.
Which documents do I need to bring for a plasma donation?
All you need is proof of identity carrying a photo.
Do I need to come in nil by mouth?
Quite the contrary! It is good to eat something before donating plasma. However, it is best not to have a big meal so as not to oversaturate your blood with lipids (fat). It is also important that you are sufficiently hydrated (2-3 glasses of water) before your plasma donation.
Can I donate plasma if I just got back from a trip?
If you are back from a tropical destination, you will need to wait 28 days to 6 months before being allowed to donate plasma. In other cases, a 28-day wait may be required. For more details, please contact us at 0800 92 245 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the donation
Does a plasma donation take long?
Plasma donations as such take around 45 minutes. Factoring in the medical interview and the rest, you need to reckon with around 75 minutes on average.
Why do I need to fill in a medical questionnaire every time?
The questionnaire and the confidential medical interview enable us to determine whether or not the donor’s current health status allows him to donate plasma. This is in the interest of the donor himself and in the interest of the recipient. This is why the questionnaire includes questions on any illnesses or operations you may have had, foreign travel you may have undertaken, the possibility of any risky behaviour you may have displayed, etc.
It is crucial that you answer these questions correctly, truthfully and in detail so as to ensure the transfusion safety of the donor and of the patients who will be receiving the products derived from the donation.
Does it hurt, donating plasma?
You may experience a slight scratch when the syringe goes in. The actual blood drawing is painless.
In a few rare cases, it may be that you have a haematoma (a bruise) at the place where the needle went in. This is perfectly normal and does not have any lasting effects.
What is the amount of plasma collected?
The amount collected varies depending on the weight of the donor. On average, we collect between 600 and 650 ml of plasma.
Can I contract a disease by donating plasma?
NO. There is no risk of contamination as we use sterile single-use materials (bags and needles) for every donation. Which means any risk of contamination can be ruled out.
After the donation
How long does it take the human body to replace the plasma removed?
A plasma donation does not cause any kind of deficit in the donor. The loss of liquid is immediately compensated.
Are there any special rules for people who play sports?
Engaging in sports activities is permitted in moderation after you have given blood. However, we do advise waiting 12 hours for the following sports:
- cycling, hiking, swimming
- car sports, motorcycle racing
- all ‘violent’ sports, such as judo, boxing, wrestling, karate, rugby, American football, ice hockey...
We advise against giving blood within 24 hours before or after a competition or one of the following sports: rock climbing, hang gliding and paragliding, scuba diving, caving.
Are there any special rules for motorists?
Not particularly. The rest you take whilst having your refreshment is enough to get back behind the wheel, provided you feel fit.