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Plasma donors in Western New York save babies around the world

Donations at KEDPLASMA make RhoGAM
Posted at 6:02 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 18:02:14-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Thousands of babies around the globe are alive because of Western New Yorkers.

"This is the only center we have like it in the world," Forrest McCaleb, KEDPLASMA's Director of Global Communications U.S.

"Without the RhoGAM I wouldn't have been able to have a healthy pregnancy," Kate Place, a RhoGAM recipient, said.

The KEDPLASMA center in Williamsville is the only donation center in the world that takes plasma to make RhoGam, which is a prescription used to prevent Rh isoimmunization.

"If it wasn't for the drug, after me having my first baby, my body would have started attacking the positive blood, so I may have not ever had another baby," said Place.

After a woman with a Rh negative blood type has a baby with a Rh positive blood type, her body builds up antibodies to the positive blood. The second time she gets pregnant, her body will attack the baby's red blood cells, which means the baby will be born with serious birth defects or not survive. That's where RhoGAM comes in.

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"This therapy prevents that, and this lets the mother carry the baby to term," said McCaleb.

"My body was able to carry her to full term and not attack her," Place said.

It starts with just a finger prick and after a series of tests you could be saving up to 80 babies a week. Each donation creates enough plasma to make medicine for 40 babies, and donors can give twice a week. That's exactly what Peter Lasota does.

"I have a nephew, and I have friends who have children, and if it wasn't for what I do they wouldn't be here. They wouldn't be part of my life," Lasota said.

Kate has become a nurse at KEDPLASMA, and plans to donate once she's eligible... All because of what RhoGAM gave her. If you want to see if you can become a plasma donor, check out if you meet the requirements of KEDPLASMA.

Some are:

  • You must be between the ages of 18-68.
  • You must be Rh Negative.
  • You have to live within 90 miles of the KEDPLASMA in Williamsville, N.Y.
  • Women must be postmenopausal or sterile.