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faq
faq
  1. What is plasma?
  2. Who is eligible to donate plasma?
  3. Is it safe to donate plasma?
  4. How often can I donate plasma?
  5. How long does it take to donate?
  6. Do you test the plasma every time?
  7. How is my plasma used?
  8. How is the plasma collected?
  9. Who governs your operation?
  10. Will I be compensated?
  11. I live in another city or state, do you have other centers?
  12. What is an Antibody?
  13. Years ago when I was pregnant I was told I had an antibody - would I still have it and if so how did I get it?
  14. Can these antibodies hurt my baby?
  15. Who is Rh Negative and how do I know?
  16. Is every baby at risk for Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn?
  17. What is Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn?
answers

What is plasma?
Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood. Your blood is made up of a liquid portion and a cellular portion. The cellular portion contains white blood cells that fight infection, red blood cells that carry oxygen, and platelets that aid clotting. Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood. It has a number of vital functions in bleeding and infection control. It contains proteins and antibodies, which are produced by the immune system to fight diseases. Plasmapheresis is a blood donation process in which you only donate the liquid portion of your blood, the plasma. The cellular portion of your blood is separated from the plasma by an automated instrument that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As part of this same automated process, the cellular portion is returned to you and the liquid plasma portion is retained in a special collection container.
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Who is eligible to donate plasma?
To donate plasma, you must be a healthy individual at least 19 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and pass all other required donor eligibility criteria. Following a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water before donating is also recommended.
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Is it safe to donate plasma?
Donating plasma is a very safe procedure with minimal or no side effects. On your initial visit, and annually, you will receive a physical exam and your medical history will be recorded. These steps help ensure donating is safe for you and protect the recipient of the therapies made from your plasma. On subsequent visits, we will check your vital signs and ask some questions about your health since your last donation. In addition, your hematocrit (the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells) and plasma protein levels will be measured.

All collection supplies that come in contact with your blood are single use only and are discarded and replaced with new, sterile materials each time a donation procedure is performed. All of our procedures are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as various European certifications, under strict guidelines.
Our staff is dedicated to making your visit comfortable and rewarding. You can spend the donation time relaxing, watching television, or reading your favorite magazine or book.
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How often can I donate plasma?
The body replaces the plasma removed during the donation process quickly; therefore, healthy individuals can donate as often as twice a week.
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How long does it take to donate?
On your first visit, the whole process, including a physical exam and the plasma donation, usually takes about two hours. On subsequent visits, you can anticipate spending approximately one hour at the center.
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Do you test the plasma every time?
SBS performs extensive screening tests on a sample of every unit of plasma collected within our system. Each plasma donation is thoroughly tested for various infectious agents including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
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How is my plasma used?
The plasma that is collected at Southern Blood Services is manufactured into a wide variety of life-saving products that benefit thousands of people everyday. Plasma is used in the treatment of serious disorders such as hemophilia, immune system deficiencies, and prevents diseases like Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn.

In addition, hospitals and blood centers use plasma based products to type and screen other people's blood for transfusions and organ transplants.

It is important to remember that plasma is not a substance that can be produced in a laboratory or some other artificial environment. It can only be obtained from healthy adults. When you donate plasma, you are helping to save lives.
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How is the plasma collected?
Through a process called Plasmapheresis. This is a process in which you only donate the liquid portion of your blood, the plasma. It is separated from the cellular portion of your blood by an automated instrument that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As part of this same automated process, the red blood cells are returned to you and the liquid portion, the plasma, is retained in a special collection container. By receiving your red cells back, you will not feel fatigued or tired as normally associated with donating blood. This process has been around since the 1950's.
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Who governs your operation?
SBS is certified by and complies with requirements from the following:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • State of Alabama

  • State of Tennessee

  • Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA)

  • International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP)

  • Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendment (CLIA)

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

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Will I be compensated?
Donating plasma can be one of life's most enriching experiences. Aside from the feeling of helping others with your plasma, you will receive special compensation for your time.
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I live in another city or state, do you have other centers?
If you have an antibody, we are willing to work with you. We currently have the three sites, however we have a vast network of other centers that we work with. In special circumstances it is even possible to fly you to one of our centers; of course we take care of all arrangements and cost. As each case is unique, we encourage you to contact us for further information.
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What is an Antibody?
Red blood cells have marker molecules on their surface, called antigens. These antigens determine your blood types and vary from person to person. The type of marker molecules that you have on your red blood cells determines which blood group you belong to (so if, for example, you have A markers, you belong to group A of the ABO blood grouping system).

In addition blood also contains antibodies, which are built to recognize marker molecules. Once recognized, the cells with foreign marker molecules are destroyed by the immune system. This is why blood often cannot be transfused between two people with different blood groups, as the cells attack each other.

Some other markers that blood may have antibodies to are Kell, Kidd and Duffy. These are quite rare, but relatively low concentrations can occasionally produce serious problems so they are important for doctors to know about.
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Years ago when I was pregnant I was told I had an antibody - would I still have it and if so how did I get it?
Once you have an antibody in your blood system, you will always have the antibody. The strength of the antibody will decrease in time, but it will always be present in your blood.
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Can these antibodies hurt my baby?
Yes. The antibodies formed to protect you against Rh-positive red blood cells can pass to the baby you are carrying. They attack and destroy the baby's Rh-positive red blood cells, causing anemia (low red blood cell count), jaundice, and in sever cases, heart failure. This condition is known as hemolytic disease of the newborn.
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Who is Rh Negative and how do I know?
Most people are Rh-positive -- 85%. Percentages vary between ethnic/racial groups. For the 15% who are Rh-negative, their blood type causes no special health concerns and becomes important only when they give or receive blood and, most importantly, during pregnancy. When an Rh-negative woman and an Rh-positive man conceive a child, Rh status becomes especially important. The Rh factor is the "+" (Positive) or "=" (Negative) after your blood type (A, B, AB, or O). If you are unsure, your medical provider should have this information.
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Is every baby at risk for Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn?
Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn usually does not affect the mother's first baby, but once she has produced Rh antibodies, all future Rh-positive babies are at risk. Rh Immune Globulin is given to prevent the production of these antibodies.
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What is Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn?
Hemolytic disease of the newborn, is an alloimmune condition that develops in a fetus, when antibodies that have been produced by the mother and have passed through the placenta include ones which attack the red blood cells in the baby's circulation.

During the birthing process, blood cells from the unborn child can escape into the mother's bloodstream. These cells are recognized as foreign if they are a different blood type from the mother and a natural rejection process will ensue with the formation of antibodies. The process is known as red cell alloimmunization. This event
typically occurs after the delivery of a baby at the end of pregnancy, but other pregnancy-related events such as elective abortion or spontaneous miscarriage can result in antibody formation. Although the pregnancy in which the alloimmunization first occurs results in an unaffected child, future children are at substantial risk. In these subsequent pregnancies, newly formed antibodies in the pregnant patient can cross to the unborn child and attach to its red blood cells producing a low blood count (anemia) and in the worst case scenario, fetal death. In general, the fetus of each subsequent pregnancy exhibits more severe effects than in the previous pregnancy. The fetal and newborn effects of red cell alloimmunization are known as hemolytic disease of the newborn.

Modes of Inheritance
In more than 98% of cases, the red blood cell incompatibility involves the Rhesus or Rh D antigen so the disease is known as Rhesus disease or Rh disease. Although the exact percentage varies with race, 15% of the United States population is Rh-negative and 85% is Rh-positive. If a Rh-negative woman conceives a child with a Rh-positive partner, the potential exists for the child to inherit its father's Rh-positive blood type. There are two types of Rh-positive men. In 55% of individuals, the man is heterozygous. In this situation, his genetics allow him to produce Rh-negative offspring 50% of the time and Rh-positive offspring the remaining 50% of the time. In the second type of a Rh-positive individual, only Rh-positive offspring can result, a condition known as the homozygous state. Although the RhD antigen causes more than 98% of all cases of hemolytic disease of the newborn, more than 43 other red cell antigens have been reported. Especially problematic are the Kell, little c, Duffy, and Kidd antigens.

Incidence
Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that the incidence of hemolytic disease of the newborn secondary to Rhesus disease is approximately one case per 1000 live born infants. Although the incidence varies geographically, the southwest region of the United States has an incidence one and one half times greater than the national average.

Prevention
Medication is available to prevent Rhesus disease. Rhesus immune globulin (also known as Anti-D Immune Globulin) should be administered to the Rh-negative woman with a Rh-positive partner any time there is a chance fetal cells may enter the pregnant woman's circulation. Such events include threatened miscarriage, spontaneous miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis performed for genetic indications, and abdomen trauma. Anti-D immune globulin should be administered routinely at 28 weeks of pregnancy and after the delivery of an Rh-positive infant.

If given correctly, this medication is more than 99% effective in the prevention of Rhesus disease. Anti-D immune globulin is only effective in preventing Rhesus disease; it is not effective in preventing worsening disease once alloimmunization has occurred. Unfortunately, similar medications are not available to prevent alloimmunization to other more rare red cell antigens such as Kell.
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