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Enrolment for future plasma donation 2024

In Spring 2024, SNBTS aim to increase the number of plasma donors in Scotland. This is because we can start manufacturing Plasma for Medicines at that point. These products are very important for Scotland’s patients. During 2024, we aim to increase our plasma donor base to almost 1000 people. We would love you to join us.

What is plasma?

Plasma is the clear, straw-coloured liquid portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are removed. 55% of human blood is made from plasma – the single largest component. It contains antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins. It also contains water and proteins called clotting factors, which stop bleeding.

What is plasma used for?

Plasma can be used to make a variety of life-saving products and medicines. These currently include:

  • Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP): FFP is produced by quickly freezing plasma donations to preserve their clotting factors. It can be used to treat patients with major bleeding or who have low levels of certain clotting factors.
  • Cryoprecipitate (Cryo): Cryo is a blood product prepared from fresh frozen plasma. It is used to treat patients with bleeding and liver disorders.

What is changing?: Plasma for Medicine

In Spring 2024 SNBTS will start manufacturing a new plasma product called Plasma for Medicine. Plasma will be used to make immunoglobulin therapy. This is important to help patients with weakened immune systems fight infection. These people may have been born with immune system disorders, or developed them following cancer, cancer treatments or transplants.

Plasma for medicine will be collected by plasma donations and made from plasma separated from whole blood donations.

Immunoglobulin therapy can be made from donations from both female and male donors. Therefore, going forward, both female and male donors will be able to give plasma donations.

Who can give plasma donations?

Plasma-only donors must be:

  • at least 60kg
  • an existing donor who has given blood or platelets at least once before (only applicable to females)
  • any blood group (but we're particularly keen to welcome donors with group B blood group at this time)
  • a donor with strong veins that will tolerate the specialist machine that collects your blood and returns some blood components back to you
  • able to donate at Donor Centres in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee or Inverness.
  • willing to spare 60-90 minutes each time they give plasma

Plasma donors can donate every 4 weeks. Donors’ commitment may vary, but we would love to welcome you 4-6 times per year.

Additional tests will be carried out when we see you prior to enrolment.

What else do I need to know?

Plasma donation is a little bit different to giving blood. We use a machine which collects blood then separates the individual components and returns the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets back to the donor.

Plasma donors must meet the same health criteria as blood donors. We do some extra tests for plasma donors, such as protein levels to make sure it’s safe for you to continue to donate.

Are there any risks associated with giving plasma?

Most of the risks of plasma donation are similar to the risks associated with blood donation. Side effects can sometimes include:

  • Bruising and pain: Most pain and bruising is minor, and symptoms settle quickly with no or simple measures. Fewer than 1 in 100 donations lead to bruising, while around 1 in 2000 donations cause severe arm pain.
  • Feeling faint: Around 1 in 80 donations lead to donors feeling faint. New blood donors are more likely to be affected, however drinking plenty of clear fluids (at least 500ml) before donation significantly reduces the likelihood of fainting.
  • Citrate effect: Citrate is a blood thinner which occurs naturally in the body. It is added to the donation to prevent blood clotting. A small amount is returned to the donor with their red cells. Most donors feel no side effects, but some may feel tingling around their mouth, fingertips or toes, a metallic taste, or chills. These effects are easily managed by slowing the procedure down.

Other rare complications of donation include inflammation of the arm, irritation of a nerve or punctured artery. This occurs very rarely (fewer than 1 in 14,000 donations).

I’m interested – what should I do?

Initially we are contacting Group B donors in Glasgow and Inverness Donor Centres, to ask if they’d like to join us.  We do aim to roll this out and contact donors from other Donor centres – so if you would like to register your interest in plasma donation, please email us on

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Friday 08 December

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types