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Is Donating Plasma Safe?
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on November 20, 2012 @ 1:51PM
Created on November 20, 2012 @ 10:59AM
It's true that donating plasma can improve a lot of people's lives, or even more, keep them alive. 
"There are three categories that plasma therapies help individuals with," explains Paul Bray,  Regional Manager of Biolife. "The first would be bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, in which our plasma therapies will help provide a clotting factor. The next would be individuals with immune deficiency disorders. Plasma therapies can help boost the immune system to help fight off infections. The third would be emergency situations, such as shock or burns, in which plasma therapy can help with volume replacement."
But if you're considering becoming a donor, it's natural to worry about your own health and safety. Therefore, donors have to meet several requirements. They must be between the ages of 18 and 69, weigh at least 110 lbs, provide proof of identification, and pass two medical exams.
Dr. Povroznik from United Hospital Center said, "The process of donating plasma or blood products is overseen by the FDA, and there are strict guidelines that agencies must adhere to. They have to select patients appropriately so it's not only safe for the donor, but we end up with a safe product for the recipient down the road. So there are guidelines, such as your minimum and maximum age, what your weight needs to be, but more importantly, a very specific medical exam, questionnaires, and testing of viruses, that happen on two separate occasions to make sure the overall process is a safe one."
Plasma donors can actually become healthier throughout the process, because they are encouraged to eat right, stay hydrated, and regularly get their blood checked to make sure their levels of protein and iron are at a healthy number. Doctors also stress that just because there is compensation, doesn't  imply that it's risky.
"Compensation is not based on the risk, it's based off the necessity to have people give up their time," says Dr. Povroznik. "It is a time consuming act to donate plasma. The first visit, they could end up spending two to three hours. And in subsequent visits, an hour and a half to two hours. So for people to travel to a certified site to give up their time, that's why there's a national incentive project that compensates people for doing so, and we need it."

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