Tips for donors

How to improve plasma donation eligibility

Tips for donors

How to improve plasma donation eligibility

April 10, 2024

In its various forms, donation is an expression of reciprocity and solidarity. Each of us can help improve the lives of others by saying “yes” to plasma donations. Thanks to your gift, many patients can receive treatments that would otherwise be impossible for them to obtain.

To help you continue donating over time, we have compiled some practical tips to help you maintain your donor eligibility.   

Good practices to improve your plasma donor eligibility

Because the donation process can be done frequently and accompany you throughout most of your life, it can be useful to learn and implement some practices to improve your plasma donor eligibility.


1. Maintaining a healthy weight for plasma donation

Did you know that your weight has an impact on your donation? If you weigh under 110 pounds, plasma donation could be considered too much of a strain on your body. If you are a petite person and hover around that weight, track your weight to stay above the cut-off line and help you feel your best while donating plasma.
You can maintain the right weight for donation by incorporating proteins (try to consume between 50 and 80 grams of protein per day) and by choosing foods that lower your blood pressure and keep cholesterol levels low (such as whole grains, fish, legumes, nuts, berries).
Monitor your weight regularly to identify any changes, and adjust your diet or exercise routine if necessary. Please keep in mind that your health always comes first. If you feel unwell during your donation, immediately inform your donation center staff.

Lifestyle choices can can impact plasma donor eligibility

2. The impact of lifestyle choices on plasma donation

Consuming alcoholic beverages may impact your eligibility for plasma donation.

Therefore, it is advisable to avoid them both before and shortly after donating. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, lower your blood pressure, and compromise the quality of your plasma. Generally, it’s best to moderate your alcohol intake as it can affect the donation process.

As for smoking, try to refrain from doing so before your appointment and for at least two hours afterwards to reduce the risk of dizziness or fainting. While there are no strict rules preventing smokers from donating plasma, the combustion process of cigarettes results in donors inhaling higher quantities of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. These substances are transferred into the blood, where they enter red blood cells and bind to hemoglobin, leading to less oxygenated blood. The diminished vitality of red blood cells could potentially disqualify you from donating.

3. Medication, substance use, and plasma donation 

In general, taking medication does not make you ineligible for plasma donation. However, some therapies may not be compatible with the process and may lead to a temporary suspension. This is the case, for example, with certain medications (such as antibiotics or antidepressants) and some types of vaccines. Also, some pain medications can affect your platelet count. You can still donate if you are able to stop taking them 48 hours before donation.

If you are taking medications but still wish to donate plasma, here is what you can do:

  • Communicate with your center’s medical staff: Before donating plasma, inform them about the medications you are currently taking and inquire if there are any specific contraindications to donating plasma.
  • List your medications: When you go to donate plasma, provide a comprehensive list of the medication you are taking. This will help the staff better assess your eligibility.

The use of cannabis does not disqualify an individual from donation and there is no data that specifies how long a donor should wait between cannabis use and plasma donation. 

4. Prioritizing safe practices for plasma donation 

Engaging in safe sexual practices is not only important for your overall health, but also for maintaining your eligibility as a plasma donor.

Sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and hepatitis can lead to temporary or permanent exclusion from plasma donation activities. So, remember to:

  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Be honest during your plasma donation screening process: being transparent about potentially risky sexual behaviors could make a huge difference in safeguarding the health of the recipient of your plasma.

5. Navigating tattoo decisions as a plasma donor 

Are you thinking about getting a new tattoo? Consider that your new ink might have repercussions on your eligibility to donate plasma. In extremely rare cases, if the needle used to ink the tattoo was not properly disinfected, it could cause an infection that is not immediately detectable in the bloodstream. To protect the already vulnerable recipient of your generous plasma donation from potential infection, you will likely be temporarily deferred. This allows time for your tattoo to fully heal and ensures you have not contracted any infections.

To minimize the impact of your new tattoo on your plasma donor eligibility, consider these tips:


  • Have your tattoo done at a fully licensed establishment in the US.
  • Avoid getting a tattoo on your inner arm, where you connect to the plasma donation machine.
  • Try to schedule your tattoo when you plan to donate less frequently.


Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff are always there to answer all your questions in person.