January 24, 2019 at 9:01 am

What is plasma used for? Much like platelets, plasma helps to induce clotting and control bleeding. However, it does this through different mechanisms and many of the clotting factors found in plasma are made from the liver.  Therefore, although both plasma and platelets both help to control bleeding, they are sometimes used for different patient populations, depending on what the patient’s underlying disease.

How long does donating plasma take? Donations are made using an apheresis (automated blood collection) process, and take 45-50 minutes.

How often can I donate plasma? You can donate plasma every four weeks. However, there is a limit to only 12 plasma donations each year.

Is there any special preparation required to donate plasma? To donate plasma, please remember to increase fluid and calcium intake, as well as iron.

Is plasma type-specific? Yes, plasma is transfused to patients based on blood type, so we categorize plasma as type A, B, O or AB. Since type AB is universal plasma, meaning it can be transfused to any patient, we are always looking for more plasma donors with AB- or AB+ blood type. We are also currently growing our A plasma donor program.

Where can I donate plasma? Plasma donations are accepted at all three of our donor centers.

How do I make an appointment to donate? To make an appointment to donate plasma, give us a call at 650-723-7831.


The Many Uses of Plasma

While plasma had been transfused as part of whole blood for hundreds of years, the specific value of plasma became acutely clear as a result of the devastating violence of WWII. Though plasma could not replace lost red cells and platelets, plasma and its related products were far easier to transport than whole blood (which…


When you donate plasma, you get even more benefits beyond that good feeling of knowing you have saved a life (or several)! Asa plasma donor, you accrue donor loyalty points faster than with whole blood donation and are eligible for other great gifts as well! Check out some of those perks below:


Plasma Donations (or a combination of platelets and plasma donation) 

If you are a plasma donor, points are earned on this schedule, per donation, within a calendar year:

  • Visit 1 = 100 points x number of pints donated
  • Visit 2 = 125 points x number of pints donated
  • Visit 3 = 150 points x number of pints donated
  • Visit 4+ = 175 points x number of pints donated

Bonus Points!

In order to incentivize donations when and where we most need them most for patients, we are offering additional points for the following:

  • Center Visit = 50 points
  • Appointment Scheduled and Kept = 25 points
  • Time of Day (12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., +/- 10 minutes) = 25 points
  • Bonus days: 1000 bonus points up to six times per year! Watch our promotions page for announcements or download the SBC app for notifications.

Donors can choose to redeem points for SBC branded items in our Donor Loyalty Store or can donate their points back to one of our community partners.


Get this shirt when you donate plasma for the first time (and as often as you like thereafter)!


Get a collectible Four Seasons t-shirt when you give at least four times in a calendar year.


Get a unique, high-quality gift when you give at least ten times in a calendar year.


Dolores’ Story: Plasma Donor Making A Difference

Did you know that patients across the U.S. require nearly 10,000 units of plasma every day? Plasma is the yellow liquid portion of the blood in which the red cells, white cells and platelets are suspended. It contains numerous proteins and enzymes that play many different roles in your body. One of the roles is to help induce clotting…

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

In the start of April 2020, SBC became one of the first blood centers in the nation to create a COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) program. The program, which encouraged recovered COVID-19 patients to donate antibody-rich plasma for current COVID-19 patients, gained national media attention and led to over a thousand community members offering to donate….

Sam and Beth’s CCP Story: Critically Ill Patient and Wife Turned Plasma Donors

Dr. Sam P. Most, Chief of the Division of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford Health Care (SHC) and professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, is not only an accomplished and beloved member of the Stanford community; he is also a dedicated husband in his familial life and a very health, very active…

Andrew’s Story: Fighting Back With COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

In early March, COVID-19, while present in San Mateo County, was still reported to be a low health risk to the general public. In fact, the first case of unknown origin in the county had just been identified March 2. So, when Andrew Armstrong, a healthy and athletic father of two young boys, began experiencing…

Collecting Plasma on the ALYX Machine

Beginning January 8, we expanded our collections to include plasma products drawn on the ALYX machine. The ALYX machine is an apheresis machine that separates and collects various blood components and returns what we aren’t using to the donor — if you’ve done a double red blood cell (DRBC) donation, then you’ve donated through the…

SBC Innovation: One (Centrifuge) Spin to Rule Them All

By Dianne Geary and Tho Pham, MD  When a whole blood donation gets to lab, it goes for a spin in a centrifuge. From a whole blood unit, Stanford Blood Center (SBC) can then potentially get three products: packed red cells, plasma and buffy coat. Red cells and plasma products are used for transfusion, while buffy…