They walk among us.
Will you join them?
Real life heroes are all around us, helping to save lives by donating the precious gold-coloured part of their blood. Plasma is used every day to save the lives of people who have lost blood through accidents or other trauma. It’s also used to create up to 11 lifesaving products. Because it’s so invaluable, we’re always looking for people like you to become plasma donors. So will you become a real life hero too?
If you’re interested in donating plasma, here are the three easy steps you need to follow.
Check your eligibility to donate whole blood
Make a whole blood appointment and donation
We need all our potential plasma donors to come and make a whole blood donation first. This allows us to check your vein suitability and make sure you have no adverse reactions during and after donations.
Check plasma eligibility and book your first plasma donation appointment
Assuming you pass step 2 with flying colours, check your plasma eligibility and then our team will help you to make your first plasma donation appointment. You’ll be able to book any subsequent donations yourself through our app or by calling 0800 448 325.
Giving plasma is a special thing to do. So when you’ve successfully donated, you get special recognition by becoming a gold club donor.
Every day, plasma saves the lives of people who have lost blood through accidents or other trauma. It’s also used to create up to 11 lifesaving products: boosting the immune system of people with low levels of antibodies; controlling autoimmune disorders; and providing special clotting factor concentrates for people with bleeding disorders.
Because of the ever-increasing number of conditions plasma can treat, the demand is also increasing. In fact, New Zealand needs nearly as many plasma donations each year as blood.
Plasma donations are similar to whole blood donations, however a special machine is used called an apheresis machine.
The blood is taken from one arm and channelled through a sterile, disposable kit housed in the apheresis machine - which automatically separates the plasma from the donor’s red blood cells using a centrifuge.
The red blood cells are then returned to the donor using the same needle, and the plasma is collected into a special bag. This process is repeated until the required amount of plasma is donated – typically it takes 45 to 60 minutes on the donation bed (compared with 5 to 10 minutes for a regular donation).
Because red blood cells are returned to the donor, donors typically don’t feel as tired after giving these donations (although this varies for each individual).
All the tubing, bags and needles used in the process are new, sterile and used only once. After use, they are destroyed.
Plasma donations take about 60 minutes on the donation bed (compared to 5-10 minutes for whole blood), so please allow about 90 minutes including the time to complete the Donor Questionnaire form, interview with a nurse and refreshments afterward.
Giving plasma is an automated process where instead of donating whole blood, the donor gives only a certain part or component, e.g. plasma. The donor's blood is collected, the red blood cells and plasma and platelets are separated, and then the red blood cells and platelets are returned to the donor using a process called "apheresis".
Apheresis (pronounced ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special type of blood donation and comes from the Greek word meaning, "to take away" or "to separate".
An apheresis machine is used to collect plasma. The blood is taken from one arm (one needle only) and channelled through a sterile, disposable kit housed in a special machine - a cell separator. The separator automatically removes the plasma from the donor's blood using a centrifuge and returns the rest to the donor using the same needle.
As your red cells are returned to you using the apheresis machine, you most likely won't feel as tired after giving these donations (although this varies for each individual).
All tubing, bags and needles used in the process are new, sterile and used only once. After use, they are destroyed.
This can vary for each donor but some donors may feel cold during their donation (blankets can be provided!), or feel a tingly sensation in their lips or hands. This is because as blood is drawn during an apheresis donation, a substance called citrate is added to the blood to prevent clotting while the blood is outside the body. Some of the citrate is returned to the donor and may cause tingling around the mouth or coldness during the donation. These are temporary conditions only, and the citrate is broken down very quickly in the bloodstream.
Donating by apheresis provides large quantities of plasma, and because donors are not giving red blood cells they can donate more frequently. You can donate every two to three weeks (rather than every 3 months)
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