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BUFFALO HEALTHY LIVING: Save 40 babies’ lives in one hour

By Annette Pinder

Are you Rh-negative? If so, you are among a special group of people who can save up to 40 lives in one hour, simply by donating part of your blood – the plasma. This is because plasma contains a substance that can prevent hemolytic disease (HDN) which occurs when a Rh-negative mother's immune system produces antibodies that attach to the red blood cells of her Rh-positive baby. HDN can result in loss or serious illness of the child.

Here in Williamsville, KEDPLASMA Somerset Labs is combatting this terrible disease by screening and collecting plasma from about 500 Rh-negative donors that is manufactured and turned it into a life-saving therapy called RhoGAM. Injecting RhoGAM into a Rh-Negative mother during her pregnancy prevents HDN.

Plasma, often referred to as the flow of life, is the liquid that carries blood cells throughout the body, transporting red cells that carry oxygen, white cells that fight disease and help heal injury, and platelets that prevent bleeding. If you take the red and white blood cells out of plasma, 92 percent is water. The remaining fluid – plasma – transports antibodies, clots proteins, hormones, and enzymes. Plasma also carries sugars, fats, salts, and minerals to the body's cells, and removes waste products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid, while helping to maintain blood pressure and acid-base balance.

Since plasma cannot be produced artificially, it must be acquired through the generosity of healthy people willing to donate their plasma for the eventual use of others in need. This involves a procedure called plasmapheresis, which is accomplished by drawing blood and separating the plasma from the blood cells, after which the cells and platelets are returned to the donor. Donating takes just a little over an hour, and because plasma is replenished in the body much more quickly than blood cells, a person can donate as often as twice within seven days. That means it is possible for one person to save up to 80 babies each week!

If you are Rh-negative, you may be able to donate your plasma, and receive compensation for your time and effort. The following are criteria for donating:
  • Men and women must be Rh-negative, in good health, and between the ages of 18 and 68
  • Donors must reside within 90 miles of KEDPLASMA Somerset Labs
  • Female donors must be sterile or postmenopausal
  • A KEDPLASMA Somerset Lab physician must determine if any prescriptions you currently take affect your eligibility to donate
KEDPLASMA Somerset Labs is located at 15 Limestone Drive in Williamsville, and is a subsidiary of KEDPLASMA USA, which specializes in the collection and procurement of high-quality plasma for plasma-based therapies to treat severe diseases, disorders, and conditions such as hemophilia and immune system deficiencies.

Most active plasma donors have been donating for more than 5 years—some for more than 30 years. If you meet the minimum requirements for donating call 716-631-1281, or email somerset@kedplasmausa.com for a telephone interview that will help determine if you qualify for an in-person interview. Learn more at www.kedplasma.us/somerset-laboratories.

Originally posted by Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine . Republished with permission.

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