How Should I Prepare Before Donating Plasma?

Before you come into donate plasma we recommend that you drink plenty of water before and after your donation, do not drink alcoholic and caffeinated beverages within 72 hours of donating, and eat a balanced meal that isn’t fatty or high-cholesterol before donating. Find out more.

What Is Plasmapheresis?

Plasma is collected by a process called Plasmapheresis. The method separates plasma from the blood that has been drawn and collects it in a bottle. The uncollected parts of the blood, including red blood cells and white blood cells, are returned to the donor. This process allows the donor to donate up to two times a week because they do not have to replenish the parts of the blood that are returned to them.

How Is Plasma Used In Everyday Medicine?

In addition to helping those with rare, chronic diseases, plasma protein therapies are also used in everyday medicine, emergencies, and surgical medicine to treat animal bites, Hepatitis, organ transplants, shock, burns, pediatric HIV, trauma, liver conditions, cardiopulmonary issues, and RH incompatibility.

How Is Plasma Collected?

Individuals may donate plasma through a process called plasmapheresis. Plasmapheresis is a sterile, self-contained, automated process, which separates plasma from other cellular components, which are then returned to the donor.

One patient wanting to treat primary immunodeficiency disease needs 130 donations. About 900 donations are needed to treat alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and 1200 donations are required to treat one patient with Hemophilia A.

What Is Plasma?

Plasma is the straw-colored liquid portion of blood comprised of water, salts, and proteins. It is the clear liquid portion of blood that exists after both red and white cells are removed. Plasma makes up approximately 55% of blood and is composed of 90% water.

Plasma protein therapies are medicines made from donated plasma. These therapies are used to treat a number of rare, chronic, conditions including primary immunodeficiencies, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, hereditary angioedema, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Rh incompatibility, cardiopulmonary needs, pediatric HIV, burn victims, hepatitis, certain liver conditions, shock/trauma victims, and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia.

Plasma contains numerous proteins, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body. If a person has insufficient levels of anyone plasma protein, his or her body cannot carry out vital functions, causing a variety of chronic and life-threatening medical conditions. However, due to its unique biological composition, it cannot be prepared synthetically. These patients can only rely on plasma donors.

Is Donating Plasma Safe?

Yes. Plasma donation is performed in a highly controlled, sterile environment by professionally trained medical team members following strict safety guidelines for each donor’s comfort and well-being. GCAM uses sterile, one-time-use materials that are disposed of immediately.

GCAM’s facilities are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration and our centers are routinely inspected by Federal and State agencies. Our centers pride themselves in acquiring plasma from our generous donors in a pleasant and relaxing environment. Our focus is on donor safety and satisfaction.

If I’m Not Eligible To Donate Blood, Am I Ineligible To Donate Plasma Too?

In some instances, you may be able to donate plasma even if you’re not eligible to donate blood. GCAM staff can better assess your eligibility at any one of our plasma donation centers.

What Does It Mean To Be “Deferred?”

People who are disqualified from donating plasma are known as deferred donors, but it doesn’t always mean that you’re disqualified forever. A prospective donor may be deferred at any point. Whether a person is deferred temporarily or permanently depends on the specific reason for disqualification. A permanently deferred donor is forever disqualified from donating plasma.

Donors who are temporarily deferred will be told their names have been put on a deferral registry, which means they will not be able to donate until the temporary deferral period has expired. At that point in time, the donor may visit a GCAM plasma donation center to be re-entered into the system and become eligible to donate again. All eligible donors must satisfy all donation criteria and requirements.

If I Was Deferred Once Before, Am I Still Ineligible To Donate?

You will be notified if your deferral is of a permanent nature. Otherwise, the deferral time depends upon the reason for deferral. Before each plasma donation, you’ll be given a health screening and medical interview. It will be determined if you’re eligible to donate on that particular day.

How Long After Donating Whole Blood Can I Donate Plasma? And Vice Versa?

It’s recommended that you wait two to three days after donating plasma before you donate whole blood. And after you’ve donated a unit of whole blood, the recommendation is to wait eight weeks (56 days) before donating plasma.

How Often Can I Donate?

Plasma donors are allowed under federal regulations to donate plasma as frequently as two times within a seven-day period with at least 48 hours between each donation.

How Is Plasma Used?

Plasma donated at GCAM plasma donation centers is used to produce medicines to treat or prevent serious diseases and conditions in multiple therapeutic areas: pulmonology, hematology, immunology, neurology, infectious diseases, and shock and trauma. Many of these conditions require regular and lifelong treatment with plasma-derived medicines.

Can Residents Of Mexico Or Canada Donate Plasma?

Yes, residents of Mexico and Canada are eligible to donate at any one of GCAM’s plasma centers, as long as the residents meet the donation criteria and provide the required identification and documentation.

How Long Does It Take To Donate?

You can donate at any time during your local center’s business hours as a walk-in or with an appointment. We recommend that you give 2 hours for processing for your first donation. The total time for return visits on average takes about 90 minutes. The average time it takes for the machine to extract your plasma into a sterile pooling bottle and then return your red and white cells takes anywhere between 35 and 50 minutes.

Is There Compensation For My Donation, And How Much Do I Receive?

GCAM pays between $25-$30 per donation and donors can donate two times a week. However, please contact your location center for the most recent and up-to-date rate for compensation.

How Do You Become A Qualified Donor?

To receive Qualified Donor status, a prospective donor must undergo two satisfactory health screenings and negative test results within six months. Until you meet this requirement, your plasma will not be used to manufacture therapies. This policy is important to help ensure the quality and safety of the therapies that patients need to treat life-threatening diseases.

Patients with chronic illness rely on donors like you to help keep them alive. In addition to saving lives donors also aid in the process of developing medicines for our everyday lives. That is why donating plasma is so important. For more information on how to donate, visit gcamplasma.com.

What Should I Expect?


Before you check-in to donate plasma, you should have a current photo ID (State ID, Visa, College ID, or a Border Crossing card,) Social Security/border crossing card, and proof of your current address (current bill, lease/contract, postmarked piece of mail). GCAM staff will then ask you a few questions about your medical history and take your photo.


The first time you donate (and each year after that) you will go through a brief physical examination. During the examination, your blood pressure, pulse, and heartbeat will be recorded. A series of questions will also be asked to make sure you are healthy and eligible to donate.


After you have completed the examination, you will be seated in a reclining chair. A trained member of our staff will extract your plasma into a sterile pooling bottle and then return your red and white cells (this will take between 35-50 minutes.) All the medical supplies used at GCAM are sterile, used only once, and then thrown away. Since you are helping to manufacture a lifesaving drug, you will receive compensation for your time. GCAM pays between $25-$30 per donation and donors can donate two times a week.

Although the plasma proteins reproduce within 24 – 48 hours and plasmapheresis have little to no side effects, it is very important that you take care of yourself after your donation. Having a meal and a large glass of water after each donation will help to replenish plasma and increase energy.

What Are The Requirements For Donating?

The standard requirements for all donors hoping to help save lives at plasma centers in the U.S. are to be between the ages of 18 and 70 years old. You should weigh at least 110 LBS, not have gotten ear piercings, body piercings, tattoos or permanent makeup in the past 12 months, and be in good health.

What Should I Bring?

New plasma donors should come prepared by bringing their Social Security card or a border crossing card, a valid picture ID (such as a driver’s license, student ID, or military ID). You should also come prepared with proof of residency, regardless of where you live (which could be a bank statement issued within the last three months, billing statement within the last three months, college enrollment verification, postmarked piece of mail, or a driver’s license issued within the last three months).