What is a Plasma Donation Deferral

Not everyone who wants to donate plasma is able to do so.  You can be deferred which means you are not eligible to donate at that point in time.  This is put in place as a safety measure to make sure that only qualified people are donating to keep the donors and potential patients safe.  

There are different levels of a deferral that impact if and when you can try again:

  • Permanent deferral
  • Indefinite deferral
  • Temporary deferral

What is a permanent deferral

If you are permanently deferred, you will never be allowed to donate plasma at any location.  When you are flagged for a permanent deferral, you will be entered into the National Donor Deferred Registry (NDDR).  This is an industry-wide database where every donor is checked to ensure they are eligible. The primary way you get permanently deferred is if you test positive for HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C.

What is an indefinite deferral

If you are given an indefinite deferral, you will not be allowed to donate again until something is cleared up.  This can be confused with a permanent deferral, but it is slightly different. With an indefinite deferral, there is the potential for you to donate in the future.  With a permanent deferral, you will never be allowed to donate.  

One of the primary reasons why I’ve seen people with an indefinite deferral is they need some type of follow up from their primary doctor.  That will need to be cleared up before they can move forward to become a donor.  

What is a temporary deferral

A temporary deferral is where there was something during the process that disqualified you from donating for a specific period of time.  You are able to donate in the future once that deferral expires and you meet all other eligibility requirements.  

Typical reasons why you may be temporarily deferred is usually one of your vital checks was out of range.  Usually, you can try again after a few days as those deferrals are short term. However, some temporary deferrals can last up to 12 months depending on the issue.  

Why am I deferred from donating plasma

Donor and patient safety is a primary concern for plasma companies.  There are specific requirements and regulations in place to make sure only eligible people can donate.  During the process, you will answer a number of questions and go through a number of tests. This is to make sure you are healthy enough to donate and your plasma is suitable for patients.  

If you are a first time donor, it’s more likely for you to be deferred for some reason as you are new to the process.  There are a number of issues that will probably only come up for that first visit.  Refer to this article to help you prepare for your first donation.

Once you get past that and become a regular donor, the reasons you get deferred are typically related to your health & vitals during that specific donation attempt.  

What are the most common deferral reasons

Vitals:  One of your vital checks was not in the specified range.  The most frequent issues are

  • High blood pressure
  • High pulse or heart rate
  • Fever
  • Low Iron levels
  • Low Protein levels

Difficult veins:  If your veins are small or not visible, it may be difficult for the phlebotomist to insert the needle into your arm.  You may be told you need to hydrate or that you are not a good candidate for donation. 

Medication:  Certain types of medication can disqualify you from donating for a period of time depending on your last dose.  

Illness:  Specific illnesses or conditions may not allow you to donate.  

Piercing & Tattoos:  If received during the last 12 months, you may not be able to donate depending on the date.

Pregnancy:  You cannot donate if you are currently pregnant or delivered within 6 months