Did you know that aside from donating whole blood, that you can also donate Plasma? Blood plasma is the liquid part of the blood which carries proteins and cells throughout the body. It’s around half of the volume of the blood we all have and it essential in transporting nutrients throughout the body. Some people have some real trouble generating their own plasma, or need more of it due to treatment and disease. It is a key ingredient for treating traumatic injuries to aid in stemming blood loss.
Blood plasma could be donated on a regular basis, as often as every 2 weeks and is listed in the World Health Organisation’s Model List of Essential Medicines. Even though the shelf life of plasma can be extended to 1 year when frozen, it is a much in-demand resource in a lot of places in the world because it’s used in the treatment of trauma, burn and shock patients, cancer patients, and people with severe liver disease. Some people have blood disorders who have trouble with developing blood clots (usually referred to as Haemophilia).
A lot of children born with these disorders require a regular transfusion of compatible blood plasma to supplement their need for certain “clotting factors” produced by healthy donors throughout their life. It is a very high demand resource which has a direct implication on the lives of people dependent on the kindness of donors who donate regularly. As with whole blood, the blood type compatibility “matrix” applies to Plasma too.
Next time you visit your local blood donation centre wherever you are in the world, ask if they need more Plasma than whole blood and consider giving Plasma more often. While it takes longer to donate plasma than it does whole blood (since it has to be separated from whole blood while being collected) the amount retrieved helps multiple people for a long while.
Call to Action
If you’ve never found out if you’re eligible to donate blood, reach out to your local blood donor centre and take their online questionnaire to pre-screen if you’re eligible. A lot of people are dependent on this life-saving compound for one reason or another, and I’m sure the local blood donor centres will be happy to receive your blood plasma too!