Donation on plasma is not as common or frequently talked about as blood donation. You tend to hear about it more when there are natural disasters and increased need for plasma. However, plasma donations are always required. Plasma donation differs from blood donation, in the sense that the blood is taken from the body, plasma is separated from it and the blood is then returned to the body. This might make you wonder, "Does donating plasma hurt?" It is a little painful and takes an hour for the procedure to complete. Here we shall discuss the pros and cons of donating plasma before you actually start doing it.
Pros of Donating Plasma
Help Other People in Need
Health conditions due to natural disasters increases the requirement for plasma. Such cases are usually life threatening, and readily available plasma donations help in saving lives of people who otherwise would have been difficult to save. It is one of the best ways to help other people.
Reduce Your Risk to Serious Health Conditions
Although researchers are unable to understand why and how, people who donate plasma regularly have lowered risk of developing conditions like cardiovascular disease later on in life.
Help Save Many People
Donated plasma is usually given to patients suffering from leukemia, had organ transplant or are burn victims. The treatment or healing of such conditions without plasma becomes very difficult and might be ineffective. Donated blood plasma is a lifeline for kids suffering from leukemia – an option that wasn't always available.
Donate Plasma Is Safe
Depending on the current health status of people, they may not be accepted in plasma donation drives. People with high blood pressure or impaired vital signs are not allowed to donate plasma. This is to protect the health of the donor as well as the potential recipient of the plasma.
Can Be Extra Income When Required
Blood donations are not paid; however, for plasma donation a person receives monetary compensation. The limit of donations is 2 times per week, and if a person meets the criteria, they can get up to $200 per month. Other options are vouchers, gift cards or food certificates, things which have associated with cash value.
Cons of Donating Plasma
It Can Be Tiring for the Body
Donating plasma sometimes is safe; however, over a period of time it can wear out the body. They can have collapsed veins or it might take longer duration to find veins for donation, especially in people who regularly donate. The donation center does not allow a patient to leave unless they are physically fit, and these conditions might make them stay back longer.
It Can Be Uncomfortable or Scary
When a person donates plasma for the first time, they need to answer a questionnaire with very personal questions, some of them related to the sexual history as well. Also, plasma donation can be done only when a person is fully hydrated and hence is asked to drink two glasses of water before donating.
Can Have Negative Effect on Long Term Health
This problem does not occur if the plasma donations are done sometimes; however, in case of regular donations, there can be some damage. Regular donation can cause 10% decrease in the antibody production levels in the human body.
It Leaves You Dehydrated
Plasma is water based and hence when plasma donation happens, it leaves the body dehydrated. It can cause vomiting, dizziness and also fainting.
Calcium Stores Are Decreased
To separate the plasma from the blood, some donation centers make use of anti-coagulants. This makes the process faster and easier; however, these anti-coagulants remove the calcium from the blood. If this calcium isn't replaced before returning the blood to the body, there will be short and long term health effects on the plasma donors.
You Will Have To Face Needles
Some people cannot bear to have needles poked in their body, while some people just do not like the idea of giving away a part of their body. In the donation process, a needle will remain inserted in the body for at least 30 minutes and you will have to bear with it.
FAQs for Donating Plasma
How often can you donate plasma?
The donated plasma is replaced by the body within 24 – 48 hours, since it is composed of around 90% water. You can donate plasma two times in a week but not on consecutive days. You should drink plenty of water and keep themselves hydrated.
How long does it take to donate plasma?
For a first time donor, you have to undergo a physical examination and can take up to two and half hours for the first session of donation. If you are a return donor, it can take up to an hour and half for the donation process.
What should you do after the donation?
Once the donation is made, you should drink plenty of fluids and have light snacks. It is advised to refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol for few hours. The donation site should be kept clean and bandage should be removed after two hours. In case of dizziness, you should lie down, cool the neck and forehead and get a cold beverage. If any symptoms continue,you should consult a doctor.
Can you donate if you are pregnant?
Pregnant women are not allowed to donate plasma and will be allowed to donate plasma only after the delivery, with permission from the doctor.