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What Is Plasma?

Your blood is made up of several components, including red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. You may also hear this referred to as blood plasma. Plasma makes up the liquid portion of your blood. It contains important proteins that are responsible for vital functions such as helping your blood clot and defending your body against infections. Plasma is quickly and easily restored by your body.

Blood plasma, or simply "plasma," consists mostly of water and a small amount of proteins and antibodies. Those proteins are what Grifols uses to produce medicines that help treat people with a variety of life-threatening diseases, illnesses and conditions. These plasma-derived medications are the standard course of treatment for thousands of people in more than 100 countries across the globe who need the treatment to improve their health and lead productive lives.

Producing enough of these life-saving medications takes a considerable amount of plasma, the source material, which is why we are continually in need of plasma donations. While each of our donors may have different reasons for donating plasma, all of them make their donations through the same method: plasmapheresis.

How Does the Plasma Collection Process Work?

Plasmapheresis (pronounced PLAZ-mah fair-EE-sis) is the automated plasma collection process we use at each of our plasma donation centers. A specialized medical device separates the plasma from the blood through this safe and sterile process. The plasma is collected while the remaining blood (including red blood cells and white blood cells) is returned to you, the plasma donor. Remember, our plasma-protein medicines require plasma, not blood – so we take only what we need, and you keep the rest.

This collection process is the most effective way of extracting plasma from the blood, and since your body replenishes plasma quickly, it makes the recovery process faster and easier. As a result, you can make your life-saving donations more frequently – up to twice in a seven-day period, with 48 hours between donations.