Prepare to donate plasma

Tips on preparing to donate and what happens at your appointment.

Before you travel to your appointment you should:

  • eat as normal but avoid fatty foods as they can affect the quality of your plasma
  • have plenty of drinks to stay hydrated
  • wear clothes with loose-fitting sleeves so that it’s easy to access your arm
  • make sure you have a face covering that covers your mouth and nose

Feeling ill?

If you have a cough, a cold, an active cold sore, or feel unwell, please check whether you should attend by calling 0300 123 23 23.

What happens when you donate

Donating plasma takes just over an hour. Find out what happens when you donate.


5 minutes

When you arrive, we will check you have no symptoms of coronavirus. We will ask you to clean your hands, and then invite you into the reception.

Complete the health check form

10 minutes

You will check in with reception and fill in a health check form. This is to make sure it is safe for you to donate. You will be asked about your medical, lifestyle and travel history.

We will check your pulse and ask you your height, weight, and some more questions based on your health check form.

Finally, we will take a drop of blood from your finger to test your haemoglobin level. Haemoglobin is found in red blood cells and carries oxygen around your body. We test it to make sure your haemoglobin will not drop below normal after you have donated.

Checks before you donate

5 minutes

We will check if your veins are suitable for plasma donation. People whose veins are too small or too deep will not be able to donate.

We will tell you more about donating, explain the risks and answer any questions you may have. This is so that you are able to make an informed decision about going ahead with plasma donation.

Donate plasma

Approximately 35 minutes

You will donate using a specialist machine that takes blood out of your body, separates out the plasma and returns the rest of your blood to you. This means the process takes longer than blood donation.

We will monitor and look after you during your donation. If you feel unwell while you donate or are concerned by the machine’s beeping, please tell us straightaway. 

After you donate

After donating you can have drinks and snacks while we make sure you are feeling okay.

Your body will replenish the plasma you have donated within 24 to 48 hours.

After your donation, you can return to normal activities, but avoid any heavy exercise for the rest of the day. 

Remember to drink water to stay hydrated and eat regularly. 

Contact us

If you have any questions, need to cancel your appointment, or feel unwell after you donate, please call us on 0300 123 23 23.