Dr. Jennifer Hanes, division medical director, CSL Plasma, says donating plasma is very similar to donating blood and a lot of us know about donating blood but when you donate blood, it takes your body about eight weeks to replace those red blood cells so you can only do that every other month. However, when you donate plasma, plasma is part of the blood. Dr. hanes says it’s mostly water but it has a lot of these special proteins that we use to make these therapies and medicines. So, when you donate plasma, Dr. Hanes says, we give you back the red blood cells which means you can donate plasma twice a week and because you can do that so frequently, you are actually paid for that donation. Dr. Hanes says you receive funds on a card and it is automatically available to you. She says that really helps in the wallet but at the same time it is helping people like Meghan who have immune deficiency disorders or other people who have bleeding disorders like hemophilia and what’s really important about plasma donations is when we make these therapies the plasma gets pooled together so to make one year of treatment for one person with hemophilia, it takes over a thousand plasma donations so you can see why it is really important for each of us who is able to donate plasma to do so.
When asked if there are any risks to donating plasma, Dr. Hanes says like anything there can always be risks, but donating plasma is generally considered safe and we have a lot of guardrails in place. She says one thing being there has to be a 24-hour period in between, before you can donate again. She says this gives your body a chance to replace those proteins and water you lose, but even more carefully whenever you come in we do a screening questionnaire to make sure you are feeling well and healthy, we check your vital signs, do a couple of lab tests and on your first visit you even have a visit with our medical staff associate to perform a health assessment and make sure donating plasma is right for you and to review in detail any potential risks you may be facing so you can make the decision if it is right path for you.
Megan Ryan has common variable immune deficiency. She says she has been living with it for 20 years and what that means is a portion of her immune system is absent or missing. She says she relies on plasma derived medications.
For more information go to CSLplasma.com