So you want to become a donor but don't know what kind of donation is right for you? Take a few moments to read some of the differences between Plasma and Whole Blood donations below, as well as information on our FAQ page.  After you decide which donation is right for you, head over to our Locations page and find the closest donation center near you.

The best way to overcome your fear is to understand what happens during the donation process.

Plasma is collected through a process called "plasmapheresis."  When you come in to donate, a needle is placed in your vein and your blood is pumped into a specialized spinning device that separates the plasma from the other whole blood components, such as red and white blood cells and platelets.  While the plasma is collected, the other blood components are filtered into a reservoir.  Once the reservoir is full, your red and white blood cells and platelets are returned to your body.

Throughout the process, the system automatically alternates between collection and replacement until the predetermined amount of plasma, based on your weight, is obtained.

The tubing and all other collection supplies that come in contact with your blood are discarded and replaced with new, sterile materials each time a donation procedure is performed.

Whole Blood is a specialized bodily fluid that delivers necessary substances to the body’s cells, such as nutrients and oxygen, and transports waste products away from those same cells.  Whole Blood includes red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and all other components present in human blood.

When you donate, a needle is placed in your vein and your blood is allowed to flow into a specified type of blood bag.  You will be monitored throughout this process.
All collection supplies used during the donation are single use and assigned only to you.
All collection supplies that come in contact with your blood are discarded and replaced with new sterile materials each time a donation procedure is performed.

What should I bring with me in order to donate?

    • You must have an official picture ID (Government or State issued, Passport, etc.) that will allow proper identification as a donor.
    • Official Government issued Social Security card or ID with Social Security Number
    • Date of Birth
    • Signature
  • Proof of current address (a recent bill mailed to you within the last 30 days, will be sufficient)

What should I bring with me in order to donate?

    • You must have an official picture ID (Government or State issued, Passport, etc.) that will allow proper identification as a donor.
    • Official Government issued Social Security card or ID with Social Security Number
    • Date of Birth
  • Signature
Plasma Step-by-step

Step 1. Pre-Donation Screening

Each donor, regardless of how long he or she has been donating, must pass a pre-donation screening at every appointment.  During a screening, you will be weighed and a technician will take your blood pressure, pulse and temperature.  He or she will also take a little blood from your finger to measure your total protein and hematocrit.  Hematocrit is the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells.  These measurements will tell us if it is safe for you to donate.

Step 2. Medical History

After we check your vital signs, we ask you some routine personal and health questions to make sure that the donation is safe for you and for the patient who receives treatment made from your plasma.

Step 3. Physical Examination

As a first-time donor, and annually, you will receive a brief physical examination.  This is administered by our on-site medical staff and the information is used to verify you are eligible to donate, based on your health and medical history.

Step 4. The Plasmapheresis Process

After we prepare the automated plasma collection device with a new and sterile kit, we connect you to the machine and start the plasma collecting process.  When you donate plasma, you are not at risk of acquiring any sort of disease.  The tubing and all other pieces of the collection device that come in contact with your blood are discarded and replaced with new, sterile materials each time a donation is performed.

Step 5. Compensation

After your donation, you will be compensated for your time.  The whole process for return donors takes about 1 1/2 hours.  New donors may take 2 hours as your first visit includes a physical exam.

Step 6. Plan Your Next Visit

You can donate as often as twice in a seven-day period, with at least 48 hours between donations.

Whole Blood Donation Step-by-Step Process

Step 1. Medical History
We ask you routine health questions to make sure that the donation is safe for you and anyone handling your blood.

Step 2. Pre-Donation Screening
Each donor, regardless of how long he or she has been donating, must pass a pre-donation screening at every visit.  During the screening, a technician will take your vital signs (i.e. blood pressure, pulse, and temperature).  The technician will also take a little blood from your finger to measure your hematocrit.  Hematocrit is the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells.  These measurements will tell us if it is safe for you to donate.

Step 3. The Donation Process
After we prepare the collection bag and clean your arm, we perform a venipuncture (vein stick).  When you donate Whole Blood, you are not at risk of acquiring any sort of disease.  The tubing and all other collection supplies that come in contact with your blood are discarded and replaced with new sterile materials each time a donation is performed.

Step 4. Compensation
After your donation, you will be compensated for your time.  The entire process takes about 30 minutes.

Step 5. Plan Your Next Visit  
On your way out, you are reminded when you may donate again. You cannot donate more than 1 time in any 8 week period.