Source Plasma

A New Way to Save Lives

Henry Seiders7Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is excited to offer a lifesaving donation opportunity that helps patients like Henry, pictured here with his parents and sister.

In addition to donating red blood cells, platelets or plasma that can be directly transfused to patients, some donors may now donate plasma that will be used to make lifesaving medicines for patients battling more than 80 different diseases. This new donation type is called source plasma.

Many patients do not require blood transfusions, but need lifesaving therapies – called therapeutic proteins – that can only be made with donated plasma. These patients include people with serious, and often rare, medical conditions, such as immune system deficiency, septic shock or hemophilia.

Henry was just a baby when he suffered a brain injury that has resulted in an ongoing need for treatment. Every 60 days, he receives infusions of a medicine that is made with source plasma donations. “When you donate source plasma, it helps Henry live a normal life,” says his mom, Amanda. “We are forever grateful for those who Commit for Life.”

Just as there is no substitute for blood, no generic or chemical substitute exists for therapeutic proteins. The only way to create this type of medication is through plasma donations. The Blood Center has partnered with a nonprofit organization that creates therapeutic proteins from source plasma given strictly by volunteer donors, to help patients in the U.S. and internationally.

Check out the FAQs below to learn more about source plasma donations and how you can help.

Source Plasma FAQs

What is source plasma?

Source plasma is a donation type in which plasma is collected specifically to make lifesaving medicines, called therapeutic proteins, to help individuals battling more than 80 different diseases. The Blood Center is currently partnering with a nonprofit organization that creates these medicines from source plasma donations.

Who does source plasma help?

Patients with more than 80 different medical conditions must receive therapeutic proteins, which can only be made with source plasma donations. These conditions include immune system deficiency, septic shock and hemophilia. Your donations may help patients in the U.S. as well as internationally.

There is a growing need for source plasma donations to make therapeutic proteins for patients worldwide. Individuals who are eligible to donate source plasma can help meet these needs.

What is involved in the procedure?

The procedure for donating source plasma is just like giving an automated plasma donation for transfusion. It is an automated donation that collects your plasma and returns the remaining blood components to your body. The procedure may last from 40 to 65 minutes.

You should prepare for your source plasma donation the way you would prepare for any other donation. Be sure to eat a hearty meal and stay well hydrated before, during and after your donation.

Who can give source plasma?

Source plasma has slightly different eligibility requirements than other donation types. You may be eligible to donate source plasma if you have:

  • Not had a fever or infectious illness within the last two weeks. 
  • Not had a medical procedure or major surgery within the last six months.
  • Not been pregnant within the last six months.
  • Not had a piercing, tattoo or acupuncture within the last six months.
  • Never had any type of cancer.
  • Never used insulin.

Additionally, some individuals who are unable to donate blood otherwise may be eligible to donate source plasma. This includes those who have:

  • Moved from a country where malaria is common within the last three years.
  • Travelled to an area where malaria is common within the last 12 months.

If you have been told you cannot donate platelets or plasma due to the presence of HLA antibodies in your blood, or if you have the Sickle Cell trait and cannot donate red blood cells, you may donate source plasma.

Who should give source plasma?

Our staff will let you know if source plasma is your optimum donation based on your blood type, eligibility and current patient needs. 

Where can I give source plasma?

Source plasma donations are currently accepted at the the following Neighborhood Donor Centers, every day that the centers are open except Wednesdays:

What are the benefits of donating source plasma?

The benefits are the same as for every other donation type - from the knowledge that you have helped save a life, to the Commit for Life program benefits that all members receive. 

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Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

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Houston, TX 77054

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