PROGRESS 2014: BioLife

At BioLife, plasma donors help save lives

BioLife Plasma Services
2222 Woodale Dr. Suite 200
Mounds View, MN 55112

Drop by the BioLife Plasma Services center in Mounds View, and you will see a modern, inviting plasma collection facility where donors have the satisfaction of knowing they are saving lives.

The center collects high-quality plasma that is processed into life-saving plasma-based therapies.

Donating plasma takes about an hour and donors are compensated for their time and commitment to the program.

“Biolife is perfect for anyone, on any schedule, looking to receive some extra income,” says Karl of New Brighton, who has donated plasma at the Mounds View clinic.

“The staff at Biolife are professional, considerate and make donation a breeze. Donation is almost painless, and donors can read, listen to music, or play on a computer all the while,” he adds. “As a college student, donation doubles as paid study time. I highly suggest plasma donation at Biolife.”

BioLife operates and maintains numerous state-of-the-art plasma collection facilities throughout the U.S., collecting nearly three million liters of plasma per year.

The Mounds View facility is conveniently located at 2222 Woodale Drive Suite 200, just off County Road 10. It has daytime and evening appointments, a supervised playroom for children, and free WiFi.

The Mounds View staff say people often are unfamiliar with the plasma donation process. Here, they answer frequently asked questions:

Q: How is the process of donating plasma different from the process of donating whole blood at a community blood drive?

A: Whole blood donation:

During a whole blood donation, all components of the blood are collected. The actual procedure only takes about 10-15 minutes, at which time approximately one pint has been collected. Because all of the blood’s components are collected, whole blood donors are only allowed to donate once every eight weeks in order to replenish the body’s blood supply.

However, plasma is collected through a process called plasmapheresis. When donating plasma, whole blood is withdrawn from the body. The whole blood is then separated into plasma and the other whole blood elements using a sterile system. The plasma is retained and other whole blood elements — red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets — are returned to the donor during the plasmapheresis process. Plasmapheresis takes about 20-40 minutes longer than a whole blood donation, but because the cellular components are returned, a donor can donate as often as twice in a seven-day period, with at least one day between donations.

Q: Who is eligible to donate plasma?

A: To donate plasma, an individual must be at least 18 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and pass all other required donor eligibility criteria.

Q: Is the plasma donation recovery time the same as donating whole blood?

A: The body replaces the plasma removed during the donation process quickly; therefore, healthy individuals can donate as often as twice in a seven-day period, with at least one day between donations.

Q: How does BioLife determine if I’m a good candidate for plasma donation?

A: On each donor’s initial visit, and at least annually, the donor undergoes a physical examination and their medical history is recorded. During each subsequent visit, a staff member checks the donor’s vital signs and donors answer questions about their medical history. In addition, the donor’s hematocrit (the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells) and plasma protein levels are checked. Once the plasma is collected, samples from each donation are sent to a BioLife laboratory and tested for indicators of viral infections including hepatitis and HIV. Additionally, periodic tests, including for syphilis, are performed on each donor to help ensure donor health and acceptability for the plasmapheresis process.

Q: Why does BioLife compensate plasma donors?

A: Plasma donors spend up to two hours, as often as twice a week, in our centers to help save someone’s life or improve the quality of it. In addition, plasma donors must undergo physical examinations at least annually and a medical history questioning every time they come in to donate. All of these measures help to guarantee a healthy donor population. We merely offer compensation to our donors for their commitment to the program.

Q: What does BioLife do with the blood plasma?

A: Plasma is processed into a wide variety of life-saving therapies that benefit thousands of people every day. Plasma-based therapeutics are used in the treatment of serious disorders such as hemophilia and immune deficiencies, and to treat victims of shock and burn. For example, those who suffer from certain forms of hemophilia lack the natural clotting factors that help stop bleeding after sustaining acute or other injuries. Plasma-based therapeutics are used to treat people with this genetic disorder so that they may lead normal, active lives. In addition, hospitals and emergency rooms all over the world use plasma derived albumin in the treatment of traumatic injuries such as shock and severe burns. It is important to remember that plasma is not a substance that can be produced in a laboratory or some other artificial environment. It can only be obtained from healthy adults. Plasma donors help save lives.

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