Human body consists of 12 pints of whole blood. Blood plasma is that portion of the blood in which contains the blood cells. It is pale yellow in color. Plasma is 95% water with dissolved proteins. These proteins help the body to control bleeding as well as infection. Plasma forms 55% of the whole blood volume and it can be easily restored by the body.

The therapeutics based on the plasma is used to treat many chronic diseases such as hemophilia, deficiencies of immune system and to burn and shock victims. Now, plasma is a substance which cannot be produced synthetically i.e. it cannot be produced in the laboratories. Healthy adults are the only source from where plasma can be obtained.

Hence, plasma is called as the “gift of life” since it is an important starting material needed in the manufacture of therapies for treating rare, chronic diseases.

Donating plasma is a task that requires time. To ensure that people come forward to donate their plasma, money in the form of remuneration is given to them. Since plasma donors have to spend time and money on travel while coming to donate, this money takes care of the compensation to be provided to the donors. Different plasma collection facilities offer different amount to the donors. Some facilities provide the donors with a debit card in the form of compensation. It is loaded every time a donor makes a plasma donation to the facility.

Plasma donors are often called as “plassers”. Donating plasma has started to become a business as plasma pharmaceuticals have grown to $11 billion annual market from $4 billion since 2008. The money incentive lures donors who have started neglecting their own health at risk. The donors as well as the donation centers have started taking lightly the important aspects of donating plasma.

Payment for the donor’s time and slight pain while extracting protein-rich plasma from their blood (a process which is called as “plassing” in slang) tempts people to donate. But today, many plasma donation centers don’t perform the medical check-up appropriately. The questions to be asked to donors are sometimes asked so fast that the donor is not able to reply all of them efficiently. They are assured that they will pass the examination. This has become more of a business than a life-saving task.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, plasma companies obtained plasma from prisoners at low rates and as a result about 50% of American hemophilia patients were contracted with AIDS.

In the 1990’s, China tried to develop plasma market in its most impoverished region, Henan.  Substandard needles, blood bags and sterilization techniques were used, as a result of which thousands of Chinese donors became infected with diseases like Hepatitis C and AIDS.

Here are a few essentials for donating plasma:-

Eligibility for donating plasma is as follows:

  • The donor should be an adult i.e. more than 18 years old
  • The donor should weigh at least 110 pounds
  • A medical examination has to be passed by the donor
  • A thorough medical history screening has to be underwent by the donor
  • For transmissible viruses like hepatitis and HIV, the donor should test non-reactive
  • A diet including 50-80 grams of protein daily is recommended to be followed

Things to be done before donating plasma:

  • Stay fully hydrated by drinking water and juice
  • If a recent surgery has been undergone, the donor should inform the center personnel
  • Center personnel should be notified if in the past 12 months the donor has had a tattoo or piercing
  • If for any medical condition, the donor has had medication or is under doctor’s care, the donor should notify the center personnel

People are encouraged to donate plasma for the sake of saving lives than for the sake of money.