#HowIPutBeansOnTheTable videos, How folks make money donating blood and plasma.

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From Plasma to Products: Various Human Plasma Solutions

Blood is a real lifesaving bodily fluid— not only for people who have an ample volume of healthy blood flowing through their veins, but also for those who have lost so much and now in desperate need of clean blood that could ultimately save their lives and help them regain their strength and energy.

Aside from the common knowledge about blood donation (one person gives his/her own blood to a licensed institution, then that blood will be transfused to another person who needs it), the human blood given in donations is also used in developing, creating, and manufacturing various therapies and medicines— specifically its dominating component, which is plasma.

Plasma, the clear liquid which makes up 55% of the human blood, has been— and is still being— used for several lifesaving medications. In this article, you will discover what these products are and their benefits to those ailing people who need immediate and guaranteed recovery.



Plasma, when extracted from the body, can serve many purposes. Once out of the system and into the bag, it is broken down into important substances that will eventually lead to three plasma product types: immunoglobulins, human albumin solutions, and coagulation factors.


Immunoglobulins are essential antibodies that are part of the immune system, which is, as we all know, is the body’s natural defense against all kinds of diseases and illnesses. They are the ones responsible for warding off various infections, viruses, and bacteria.

These components are divided into two parts: specific and non-specific.

Specific immunoglobulins are often used to develop products that are given to patients who have been exposed to certain infections. Some examples of products derived from specific immunoglobulins are the antidotes to rabies, hepatitis B, tetanus, and chickenpox. The anti-D immunoglobulin, a product which is given to rhesus-negative (RhD negative) pregnant women to prevent them from becoming sensitive to their baby’s blood, is also a perfect example of a specific immunoglobulin product.

Non-specific immunoglobulins are often used for people who are having problems producing their own antibodies. Whether by birth or because of certain treatments (which make them incapable of making good antibodies), some people need non-specific immunoglobulins to make up for their faulty immune system.

Human albumin solutions

Albumin is an important component of plasma. It is responsible for cleaning the blood, maintaining the right amount of fluid around the body, and carrying vital substances in the body. It is also the dominant protein in plasma.

Solutions made out of human albumin are helpful in treating various illnesses and accidents, such as:

  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • burns
  • sepsis
  • incorrect level of body circulation

Coagulation factors

Coagulation (or clotting) factors are plasma proteins that function with platelets to clot blood. They aid in controlling bleeding and ensure that the blood clots properly.

Clotting factors can be used for treatments concerning bleeding/blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia. People with this kind of illness can be treated with replacement therapy, wherein it will replace a certain missing clotting factor.



Aside from the three main types— and the products that can be derived from them— mentioned, there are other products that were made possible by plasma.

Heparin anticoagulant

Heparin is an anticoagulant substance that is used to prevent blood clot formation during or after a certain surgery. It is also used as a treatment for different circulatory, lung, and heart disorders with a higher risk of blood clot formation.

Antihemophilic Factor

Like clotting factors, antihemophilic factors are used to aid proper blood clotting. It is put inside the body either by vein injection or addition in an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle in your vein.

Anti-Inhibitor Coagulant Complex

Like other plasma products, the anti-inhibitor coagulant complex is used to control bleeding, especially in patients with hemophilia A and B during surgery. It has vital substances that help the blood clot and stop bleeding. It can be given by means of powder for solution.

Antithrombin (Recombinant)

A recombinant antithrombin is used to prevent perioperative and peripartum thromboembolic events in patients with hereditary antithrombin deficiency. Its function is to regulate the inflammatory process and blood clotting.


Corifact is an FXIII concentrate that is used for routine prophylactic treatment and perioperative management of bleeding in surgeries for adults. It is also intended for patients with congenital FXIII deficiency.

Kcentra (Prothrombin Complex Concentrate, Human)

Kcentra is used for acute major bleeding therapies, urgent surgery cases, and immediate reversal of coagulation factor deficiency received by a patient.

Protein C Concentrate (Human)

Protein C Concentrate is used for treatment and possible prevention of purpura fulminans and venous thrombosis in patients who suffer from congenital Protein C deficiency. It is also used as a replacement therapy for treatment of warfarin-induced skin necrosis that is acquired during oral anticoagulation.


Medicines and injectable proteins are not the only beneficial things that indirect recipients of your plasma could be thankful for. Another product that can be developed out of the plasma in your body is fresh, frozen plasma.

So, how does this work?

When you donate blood, a special machine will process it and separate the plasma from your blood. Then, it will be frozen and stored until a patient that requires a plasma transfusion comes along. When that happens, your fresh, frozen plasma will be thawed under controlled conditions and will be transfused to that patient who is in need of your lifesaving plasma.

Frozen plasma is intended for multiple reasons/medical cases, such as:

  • multiple coagulation factor replacement for patients who suffer from liver disease deficiencies
  • replacement therapy for patients undergoing liver transplant or cardiac surgery
  • plasma exchange with patients who have thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
  • treatment of bleeding that is caused by multiple factor deficiencies
  • treatment of people with coagulation factor deficiencies
  • treatment of patients with rare plasma protein deficiencies
  • replacement of labile clotting factors and other proteins


Plasma is a very helpful component. Once transfused to a patient’s body, it will serve a very good purpose. But, be careful with the side effects. Some of the harmful effects of plasma transfusion are acute lung injury, haemolysis, anaphylactic and allergic reactions, and even the dreaded Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Consult your doctor very well before a plasma transfusion.

Stories of Plasma Heroes

In medical terms, when we come across the word “donate,” the first thing that comes in our minds is whole blood donation. To the untrained and unfamiliar eye, it may seem as if full blood is being donated all the time. The truth is, most of the time, it is not.

Aside from whole blood donation, people also give blood components individually, such as platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells, and of course, plasma. In this article, we are going to focus more on the latter component, which is mainly what makes up blood itself.



First of all, what is this thing we call plasma?

Actually, the human blood is composed mostly of plasma, taking up 55% of it. It is a clear, pale yellow liquid that contains important antibodies, proteins, enzymes, and salts that are essential to the overall good health of the body.

Plasma regenerates faster than blood, so donors of this component are free to donate as often as twice a week— which is, of course, after they have gotten enough rest of about 48 hours.



Being a known component of blood, plasma is regarded for its importance and contribution to the medical field. The elements found in plasma are proven to have great benefits to people who are suffering from various illnesses or psychological damage.

Plasma protein therapies (PPTs) are great examples of how helpful plasma is. These therapies are developed from human genes, and can aid in several medical treatments, such as:

  • Burn, shock or trauma (human serum albumin)
  • Hepatitis, rabies/tetanus, fetal complications (hyperimmune globulin)
  • Blood clotting
  • Hemophilia
  • Antithrombin deficiency



Donating plasma sounds like— and totally is— a good thing. More people should consider giving some of their plasma to those who truly need it.

But, as much as hospitals and blood banks want more plasma, there are still limitations as to who should donate plasma… and who should not.

Also, the volume of plasma to be donated should also be monitored. Even though plasma rebuilds inside the body quickly, the amount to be given should still be controlled.

Donor limitations

The age limit for potential blood donors is 17 years old (minimum) and 69 years old (maximum), though it varies in some states and countries. In other areas, there is no maximum age limit for plasma donors and 16 year-old teenagers are allowed to donate— as long as they have a parental consent.

The donor’s weight is also important in plasma donation. The limit is 110 pounds (minimum), and this is the general weight rule in most places.

Other limitations include those concerning unfit lifestyle (tattoos, piercings, etc.), medical history, travel history, and current health state.

Plasma limitations

While it will be good to the society to have abundance in the supply of plasma, there are still some limitations to donating this blood component.

First of all, donors should not give plasma more than two times a week— especially for frequent plasmapheresis, or the process of separating plasma from the blood. There should also be a 48-hour interval between donations, which means that you cannot donate for two consecutive days. This adds up to a total of 104 plasma donations in a year.

There is also a maximum limit as to how much plasma a donor can give. According to the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA, the collection volume of donated plasma varies, depending on the donor’s weight.

Here is a more specific basis, with the anticoagulant volume included in the total collection volume of each weight:

  • 10-149 pounds -> 625 mL (plasma volume) -> 690 mL (collection volume)
  • 150-174 pounds -> 750 mL (plasma volume) -> 825 mL (collection volume)
  • 175 pounds and above -> 800 mL (plasma volume) -> 880 mL (collection volume)



Despite of all the safety measures that hospitals and blood banks implement to carefully select who among the world’s population can donate plasma, there are still many kindred spirits who pass the tests and screenings.

The best part is, there are people who go out of their ways to prove that they can be heroes on their own rights. These are the people who exceed expectations— and plasma donation count.

Richard Burke

On June 2004, Burke set a new record when he donated his 1,411th unit of blood and made his 1,193rd blood donation.

Burke started donating in 1975, and since then, he has been doing apheresis— which is the process of separating certain components of the blood from itself.

He still holds the title until now, with an equivalent of 634.95 liters of blood donated.

James Harrison

Dubbed as the “man with a golden arm,” Harrison has been donating plasma since he was 18 years old. Now in his late seventies, he is still giving his lifesaving plasma to people who need it the most.

As a result, he had achieved a new milestone— on May 2011, he made his 1,000th donation.

That is not the only thing Harrison— and the whole world— can be proud of. Since his first donation in 1955, he has been giving a rare tonic of blood plasma that was eventually used to create and develop a vaccine. This is now known (and sold) as Rho(D) immune globulin, which has saved more than 2 million newborn babies’ lives.

Rho(D) immune globulin is a real lifesaving vaccine, but it is only efficient when prepared with blood from a donor who has rare antibodies in plasma, like Harrison. Because of this, he can still be seen donating blood every seven to ten days.

Peter Ray

An Australian war veteran, Ray just made his 800th blood donation on August 2012.

He started donating blood when he was just a 16 year-old apprentice in the Navy, and every two weeks, he donates plasma at Perth Blood Donor Centre.

Adding to his achievements is the fact that Ray is one of the 36 West Australian donors whose plasma is used to create Anti-D, which is a very special product that aids in preventing a disease known to newborn babies as Haemolytic Disease.

Terry George Price

A security guard from Denton, Texas, Price’s eyes are set on winning the Guinness World Records title for blood donation-aphaeresis.

Sixty years old and still going, Price has been donating to BioLife Plasma for a long time.  He has donated 1,000 times since his first time on May 2001, and has given 887.73 liters of plasma. While admitting that he is doing it for the money, he said that he stayed loyal because he is helping other people, as well.



Like the plasma heroes mentioned in this article— and many more— you, too, can become a one-of-a-kind hero.

Donate your plasma and make a difference!

Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Work in Injured Athletes?

We all know that Tiger Woods combating a sore knee, Chris Canty with his hamstring and Cliff Lee treating his abdomen in the past years. They have tried the treatment called platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP wherein centrifuging a person’s own blood and mix of concentrated plasma cells and growth factors. Then, it is directly injected to the injured tissue. Theoritically, this distilled growth factors or simply, the protein or substance that help stimulate growth should help fast healing and improve the tissue’s health, create new collagen and blood vessels.

This PRP therapy is costly which amounting to $1,000 per shot and good thing it is covered by insurance. There are lot of recreational athletes whose suffering from tennis elbow to back pain tried this therapy besides of its expensiveness.

Here is a new study that whoever suffering from refractory tennis elbow can be either injected with PRP or injections of whole blood. The whole blood contains fewer growth factors which also means lesser acceleration and amplification of the healing factor when compared to PRP. But, the whole blood injections resulted to be effective in treating tennis elbow after three to six months same with PRP. Both have resulted to reduced pain in most patients. This maybe confusing but to give you more explanation, the lower concentration of platelets and growth factors in the whole blood is better.

If you should consider PRP or other shots, like whole blood, some researchers suspect that you get benefits form both treatments. The needle causes a small amount of bleeding in the injured tissue, which could potentially initiate a healing response from the body. PRP received so many praise from early adopters someone with a sore ankle, knee, elbow, shoulder, abdominal muscle or other sports injury. It’s worth trying PRP. before deciding to go for surgery.

How Patients Survive With Ebola Virus By Getting Plasma Donation

The World Health Organization stated that more than 10,000 people have been contracted by the Ebola virus since March 2014 and more than 4,900 people have died in places like Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Ebola virus disease is caused by four out of five viruses classified in the genus named Ebolavirus, which is formerly called Zaire virus and considered to be the most dangerous virus. Since 1976, the discovery of this virus outbreaks in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, and then confined to places where it is endemic in Western Africa.

Ebola Virus symptoms are high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage. The fruit bats which are the hunting food of some West Africans are considered to be the virus’ natural host. The virus can be spread through close contact of body fluids such as blood and saliva. Airborne transmission has not been recorded during these outbreaks.

As of today, no proven specific treatment has been documented to Ebola virus but there are measures that can be taken to improve a patient’s life to survive. The virus’ symptoms may begin as early as two days to 21 days after one is exposed to it. Patients usually started to feel with a sudden influenza-like stage characterized by feeling tired, fever, and pain in the muscles and joints. Later symptoms may include headache, nausea, and abdominal pain and often followed by severe vomiting and diarrhea. Without fluid replacement, an extreme loss of fluids leads to dehydration which may lead to hypovolaemic shock, a condition which occurs when there is blood shortage for the heart to pump through the body. For some severely ill patients may experience the loss of blood through bleeding internally and/or externally. Severe blood loss must be treated with the administration of blood products.

Our immune system is made up of antibodies to fight a germ and they remain in the blood for some time after an infection resolves. There are certain immune system cells replenish them so we can able to fight off infection if the same germ shows up again. An Ebola patient takes time to make enough of it, so the patient may need someone else’s antibodies to fight the disease until they can produce their own. A contracted patient of Ebola can receive a plasma transfusion from a donor who beat his own infection with the deadly virus as well. It is believed that antibodies in the blood of the survivor may help patient fight off the virus.

Plasma is the clear part of the blood which contains antibodies where plasma donation takes place. It can be removed from whole donated blood or a donor’s blood can be filtered through a machine to extract just the plasma. It is important that a patient must have a compatible blood type as the donor.