NIH Blood Bank

AB Plasma Donor Program

What is AB Plasma?
Plasma is the pale yellow liquid part of whole blood, in which the cellular elements are suspended.  It is enriched in proteins that help fight infection and aid the blood in clotting.  AB plasma is plasma collected from blood group AB donors. It is considered "universal donor" plasma because it is suitable for all recipients, regardless of blood group. Due to its value as a transfusion component, it is sometimes referred to as "liquid gold." The NIH Blood Bank maintains a special program for AB plasma donors.

What is Plasmapheresis?
Plasmapheresis is the standard procedure by which plasma is separated from whole blood and collected. Blood flows through a single needle placed in an arm vein, into a machine that contains a sterile, disposable plastic kit. The plasma is isolated and channeled out into a special bag, and red blood cells and other parts of the blood are returned to you through the same needle.

Is Plasmapheresis Safe?
Absolutely. The machine and the procedure have been evaluated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and all plastics and needles coming into contact with you are used once and discarded. At no time during the procedure is the blood being returned to you detached from the needle in your arm, so there is no risk of returning the wrong blood to you.

Who Is Eligible to Participate in the AB Plasma Program?
Donors must have blood group AB and must be male, because men lack plasma proteins (antibodies) directed against blood cell elements.  Otherwise, eligibility for plasmapheresis procedures is the same as that for whole-blood donation. The interval between consecutive group AB plasmapheresis donations at NIH is one month.

How Long Does Plasmapheresis Take?
Plasmapheresis procedures take about 40 minutes, but you should allow another 20 minutes for staff to obtain your medical history. Every effort will be made to make the experience relaxing and enjoyable.

How Do I Arrange to Donate Group AB Plasma?
Call the NIH Blood Bank at (301) 496-1048 to speak to the AB Plasma Collections Coordinator, who will answer your questions and arrange a convenient time for your donation.

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This page last updated on 10/18/2023

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