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What Should You Expect When Donating Plasma?

Donating plasma is a lot like giving blood. However, there are several more rules plasma centers have to adhere to and that donors have to follow.

If this is your first time donating plasma, you will also receive a confidential physical exam given by one of our trained center medical specialists. You will receive a physical exam at least annually to make sure you remain in good health. If it has been longer than six months, you will need to have another physical exam to qualify. So, keep donating on a regular schedule to help save time.

The pre-donation physical includes answering medical history questions, tests for viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis and evaluating your protein and hemoglobin levels. Donating plasma is similar to giving blood.

How Long Does Donating Take?

The first plasma donation includes a physical examination, comprehensive medical screening and testing, and verification of donor identification and local address. Return donations typically take between one-and-a-half to two hours and also include a donor health screening, donor verification, and testing.

How Often Can You Donate?

We only take your plasma during donation 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. This process allows you to donate plasma more often than you would donating blood.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows two donations within a 7-day period, with at least 48 hours between donations. So, if you donate on a Monday, you can donate again on Wednesday.


Donors need to be 18-65 years old, weigh at least 110 lbs., be in good health, have a photo ID or a visa or passport, social security card or border crossing card, and proof of address in your name. This proof can be a bank statement issued within the last three months, billing statement within the previous three months, college enrollment verification, postmarked piece of mail, or a driver’s license issued within the last three months.

If you have received a body piercing, tattoo or tattoo touch-up in the past 12 months, please let us know so we can advise you when you would be eligible to return to donate. You typically have to wait a year after getting a tattoo before donating blood or plasma.

Tips for Donating Plasma

The day you plan to come to donate, you should prepare yourself by eating healthy and drinking enough water. Try drinking 6 to 8 cups of water or juice the day before and day of your donation. Eat a protein-rich, iron-rich meal no more than 3 hours before donating and avoid eating fatty foods like french fries, potato chips, pizza, or sweets the day you give plasma. These tips can help you qualify to donate plasma and speed up the donation process.

Call to schedule your first donation appointment or walk into your local center today to donate plasma and to help save lives! Click here for more information on how to do so.