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The need for more plasma donors | Wear The Gown

Many people donate blood, but many more who donate plasma are desperately needed.

SAN ANTONIO — The impact of the COVID pandemic created a growing demand for plasma-derived therapies. 

For every person that has hemophilia which makes it hard for blood to clot, it takes 1,000 plasma donations every year. That is why it is so important that those who are able to donate do so frequently. 

"I live with a primary immune deficiency disease called Common Variable Immune Deficiency," said Megan Ryan who has lived with that deficiency for more than 20 years. Because of the illness she is missing parts of her immune system.

"People living with rare diseases like me rely on lifesaving therapies that are derived from plasma donations. Without these donations, I would be sick all the time," she added.  

"Plasma based therapies treat a wide array of different disorders things like immune problems, bleeding disorders, some neurologic disorders, even some inherited respiratory disorders," said Dr. Jennifer Hanes, the Division Medical Director of CSL Plasma.   

According to the American Red Cross nearly 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day. The ideal blood type to donate plasma is either AB- or AB+. People can donate plasma as often as every 28 days. And the average donation only takes about one hour and 15 minutes. 

"The donation process is similar to donating blood, but the plasma that we take off then gets separated from your red blood cells and you get those back to you," Dr. Hanes added.

"I would encourage anyone who meets the basic requirements to learn more about donating plasma and become a regular plasma donor," Ryan said.

To find out more about donating plasma check out the American Red Cross plasma info page here.

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