Have you got a heart of gold? 10 reasons to become a plasma donor

Plasma - it makes up just over half our total blood volume, and has the power to saves the lives and improve the quality of life for thousands of Kiwis every year.

Show you’ve got a heart of gold - find out more about becoming a plasma donor below or by calling one of our Donor Centres.

To donate plasma you must:

  • Be aged 18 to 60 years
  • Have donated blood at least once in the last two years with good flow and no adverse reactions (e.g. become a blood donor first, then ask about donating plasma!)
  • Meet certain height and weight restrictions
  • Have one of these blood groups:  O+, A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+ and AB-
  • Meet all other donor eligibility criteria
  • Can donate at one of the seven Donor Centres in Epsom (Auckland), Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin.

Here are 10 reasons why you should consider becoming a plasma donor:

  1. Who are you helping by donating plasma? It is used for treating people who have lost a lot of blood, kidney patients and chemotherapy patients. It is also used to help treat some people with bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease, as well as boost the immune systems of people who do not have enough antibodies of their own to protect against some infections.  
  2. Plasma is the gold-coloured liquid part of blood that carries blood cells around the body and is made up of water, proteins and clotting factors. Who doesn’t want to donate their very own ‘liquid gold’ to someone in need?
  3. It’s the key component in 13 different essential blood products which have over 90,000 doses issued each year in New Zealand. These products are increasing in demand.
  4. New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) needs a whopping 3,000 new plasma donors by the end of the year in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for plasma and plasma-derived products. Already a plasma donor? Why not encourage friends and family to consider becoming one too!
  5. Donating plasma is easy –it’s collected using a special machine. As the blood is taken from the donor through a small needle in the arm, the machine spins the blood to separate the plasma from the other blood components. The plasma is collected into a special collection bag and the remaining red cells, white cells and platelets are returned to the donor through the same needle.
  6. Donating plasma might take a little longer than donating whole blood (60 mins vs 15 mins on the donation bed), but it’s a great chance to relax, catch up on a book or bring your own device to chill out or work on while you donate. Free wifi is available too!
  7. Because your red cells are returned to you, you can donate as frequently as every two weeks, compared to whole blood donors who have a three month wait between donations, so you can save even more lives.
  8. It only takes your body a few days to replace the plasma you donated.
  9. Donating plasma via apheresis is more efficient; one plasma donation will collect about twice the amount of plasma that is in a whole blood donation.
  10. New Zealand now requires much more plasma than can be obtained from whole blood donations alone. Plasma donors are now an essential group of generous people who help save lives.

NZBS’s ‘Heart of Gold’ campaign is encouraging more people to consider donating plasma – a life-saving liquid that’s worth more than its weight in gold.

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