First-Time Donors

You’ve taken the first step to becoming a plasma donor by learning more. We’ll do everything possible to walk you through the process and make your first-time plasma donation comfortable, easy and rewarding.

Where can I donate plasma?

You can donate at Octapharma Plasma donation centers in more than 20 states across the country. Visit our Donation Centers page to find one near you.

Can I donate plasma?

Donation requirements

When you come to a plasma center for the first time, please bring a current, valid photo ID (like your driver’s license), your Social Security card and proof of your current address (for example, a letter or bill that came to you in the mail in the past 30 days or a current lease).

During your visit, we’ll do a health screening, review an in-depth medical questionnaire and take blood samples* to make sure you can donate. In addition, you must:

  • Be in good health, meaning you feel well and can do normal everyday activities.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 64 (19 in Alabama).
  • Have a healthy vein in your arm for drawing blood.
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • Not have gotten ear piercings, body piercings, tattoos or permanent makeup in the past 12 months.

If you have Rh-negative blood, we especially need your donations for our specialty antibody program. The staff at your nearest Octapharma Plasma donation center can tell you more about this program.

* Blood testing screens for hepatitis, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and syphilis.

Medicines and vaccinations

In most cases, medicines you take will not prevent you from becoming a plasma donor. Your ability to donate also will be based on the reason the medicine was prescribed. Typically, as long as the condition is under control and you’re healthy, you can donate plasma. If you’re taking medicines like aspirin, Accutane, Coumadin and Plavix, you may have to wait a short time before you can donate. Others, like herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, oral birth control pills and some kinds of vaccines for flu, Tdap and HPV, don’t require you to wait before you donate.

Check with your local Octapharma Plasma donation center for more information about how your medicines and vaccinations might affect your ability to donate plasma.

Medical conditions

Specific medical conditions may or may not affect your ability to donate plasma. For example, high or low blood pressure is okay within certain limits; so is diabetes if it’s well controlled. Check with your local Octapharma Plasma donation center for more information about how your medical condition might affect your ability to donate plasma.

What should I expect during my first plasma donation?

Your first visit can take up to 2 hours because it includes a health screening and tests to make sure you can donate plasma. After that, each visit takes less time – about an hour to an hour and a half.

Here’s more on what to expect during your first visit:

Check in

A staff member will greet you and ask for a current, valid photo ID, your Social Security card and proof of your current address (for example, a letter or bill that came to you in the mail in the past 30 days or a current lease).

Watch a short video

You’ll spend a few minutes watching an educational video about the plasma donation process.

Complete your screening

We’ll take your medical history, review an in-depth health questionnaire, talk about what confidential informed consent means, explain the plasma donation process, run blood tests and answer your questions.

Donate

You’ll go to a special area and begin the donation process. A trained staff member called a phlebotomist will put a sterile needle in a vein in your arm to draw your blood. Most people compare the feeling to a prick or a pinch like you would feel when donating blood.

Next, you’ll relax while your blood cycles through special, sterile equipment that separates plasma from the other parts of your blood. To pass the time, you can use our free Wi-Fi on your smartphone or tablet or watch our TVs. You can also bring books, magazines and music (with headphones, of course).

A staff member will check on you during the process to make sure you’re comfortable and answer your questions.

Get paid

After your first plasma donation is complete, you’ll receive your payment on an Octapharma Plasma Visa debit card. The Visa debit card is reloaded after every successful plasma donation you make.

Come back for your second visit

Your second plasma donation is very important!

The first time you donate plasma, we test your donation sample to make sure it’s safe to use in life-saving medicines. We can’t use your first plasma donation until after you make your second one, so don’t forget to come back to donate again 2 to 14 days after your first visit.

You can donate as frequently as 2 times in 7 days, with at least 2 days between donations. So if you donate on a Monday, you can donate again Wednesday.

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