Plasma Donation FAQs

Here are the answers to your most Frequently Asked Questions.

About Plasma Donation

What is plasma?

Plasma is the liquid part of your blood that carries red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. It’s made mostly of water and proteins. Because it has so much protein in it, plasma is used to make life-saving medicines to treat patients who have experienced trauma, have bleeding disorders, have trouble fighting infections because of immune diseases and more.

Where can I donate plasma?

Visit our Donation Centers page to find your local Octapharma Plasma donation center.

How does plasma donation work?

Donating plasma is similar to giving blood. A trained staff member called a phlebotomist puts a sterile needle in your arm vein to draw blood. The blood is then cycled through special, sterile equipment that separates plasma from the other parts of your blood. Your plasma is then collected in a container, while the other parts are safely returned to your body. This process is called plasmapheresis.

Does it hurt to donate plasma?

Most people compare the feeling to a prick or a pinch like you would feel when donating blood.

Is donating plasma safe?

Yes. All material that comes in contact with your blood is sterile and used only 1 time for your plasma donation. Our highly trained staff follows strict guidelines to make sure you’re comfortable and safe throughout the process. Our plasma centers follow all required U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory standards for plasma donation.

Are there any risks or side effects?

There are few to no side effects and minimal risk involved in donating plasma.

Some donors might experience small bruising near where the needle was put in their arm. It’s also possible you might feel a little dizzy or lightheaded after donating plasma.

Visit our Health & Nutrition page for tips for a safe and successful plasma donation experience.

How long does it take to donate plasma?

The time it takes depends on your body weight and other factors, and also whether you’re a first-time donor. Your first visit can take up to 2 hours because it includes a health screening, in-depth questionnaire and medical history to make sure you can donate plasma. After that, each visit takes less time – about an hour to an hour and a half.

How often can I donate plasma?

You can donate twice a week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows 2 donations within a 7-day period, with at least 2 days between donations. So if you donate on a Monday, you can donate again Wednesday. Drink plenty of water after you donate to help your body replace fluids.

For more on what to do to get your body ready to donate plasma again, visit our Health & Nutrition page.

What is plasma used for?

Your protein-rich plasma is used to create a number of life-saving medicines that treat patients with rare, chronic and inherited diseases. These plasma-based medicines are used in emergency medicine or trauma, for bleeding disorders like hemophilia and to treat patients whose bodies have trouble fighting infections because of immune diseases.

First-Time Donors

Can I donate plasma?

In most states, you can donate plasma if you’re between 18 and 64 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health. Some states have a higher minimum age. For example, in Alabama you must be at least 19 years old.

If you have Rh-negative blood, we especially need your donations for our specialty antibody program.

For more on our plasma donation requirements, visit our First-Time Donors page.

Can pregnant women donate plasma?

You can’t donate plasma while you’re pregnant. Typically, you can start donating again 6 to 12 months after the end of your pregnancy. Ask your doctor if you have questions about when you can donate safely.

Can a diabetic donate plasma?

You might be able to donate plasma depending on the type and severity of your diabetes. Check with your doctor or contact your local Octapharma Plasma donation center.

What kind of medical screening do you do?

We screen every potential donor to make sure you can donate plasma. During your first visit, we’ll do a health screening, which includes a review of your medical history and an in-depth health questionnaire.

After that, your plasma donation visits will take less time because we’ll do a shorter health screening just to check your red blood cell count, protein, blood pressure, pulse, temperature and weight.

What kind of drug testing do you do?

You can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs (for example, marijuana or meth) when you come in to donate plasma. For questions about drug testing, contact your local Octapharma Plasma donation center.

What will my first plasma donation visit be like?

After a staff member greets you, checks your ID and Social Security card and verifies your address, you’ll watch a short video on the plasma donation process. You’ll also answer health questions, get a check-up and be screened to make sure you can donate plasma. After your first successful plasma donation, your money will be loaded on an Octapharma Plasma Visa debit card.

For more on what to expect during your first plasma donation, visit our First-Time Donors page.

What should I bring with me?

You’ll need a current, valid photo ID, your Social Security card and proof of address, such as a piece of mail postmarked in the past 30 days or a current lease. To help you pass the time, our plasma donation centers are equipped with free Wi-Fi and TVs. You can also bring books, magazines and music (with headphones, of course).

Please note phone calls and photography are not permitted in our donation centers out of respect for all our donors and their privacy.

Payment and Rewards

How much money will I make?

The amount of money you make for each successful plasma donation is based on the time it takes you to donate and other factors. Fees may vary month-to-month, by location or even for special promotions throughout the year.

For more about how much money you can make and current local promotions, contact your Octapharma Plasma donation center.

What does weight have to do with how much money I make?

The amount of plasma you can donate is based on your body weight (110 to 149 pounds, 150 to 174 pounds, 175 to 400 pounds). These guidelines are set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Generally, the more you weigh, the more plasma we can collect and the longer it takes to donate it. The amount of money you make reflects this.

How do I get my money?

Your money will be credited to an Octapharma Plasma Visa debit card after each successful plasma donation.

For more information, visit our Payments & Rewards page.

To replace a lost or stolen card, call (866) 326-8689 or visit Citigroup online.

What is OPI Rewards?

OPI Rewards is our way of recognizing and rewarding valued donors like you. When you become an Octapharma Plasma donor, you’re automatically enrolled in the program. For each successful plasma donation you make, you earn OPI Rewards points to spend on things like gift cards for groceries, gas and shopping.

For more about OPI Rewards, visit our Payments & Rewards page.

To access your points and check your balance, log in to your OPI Rewards account.

Why did my OPI Rewards points expire?

OPI Rewards points expire if a month (or 31 days) has lapsed since your last plasma donation. If you’ve been deferred – or told you can’t donate for a period of time – the points will stay in your account until you become active again.

Why haven’t I gotten my OPI Rewards prizes?

We send your gift card to the address we have on file, so please be sure your mailing address and contact information are up-to-date every time you visit your Octapharma Plasma donation center. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for OPI Rewards prize delivery.

Why does another plasma donation center give better prizes than my location?

Each Octapharma Plasma donation center runs its own special promotions and programs and selects prizes for its donors. If you have ideas for prizes, share your suggestions with your local Octapharma Plasma donation center staff.

Does Octapharma match the money other plasma centers pay?

We do our best to keep donor fees among the best in the area. The amount of money you can make can vary month-to-month, by location or even for special promotions throughout the year. Check with your local Octapharma Plasma donation center for more information.

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