Can Hemophiliacs Donate Plasma?


Matthew McClain

No. You absolutely can NOT donate plasma/blood with Hemophilia A, B and especially C, which involves both a prolonged clotting time factor and denotes the inability to STOP the clotting.


Hemophilia is a genetic disorder in which the blood does not clot properly, leading to prolonged or excessive bleeding from the most minor of injuries. There are two main types of hemophilia – A and B – referring to which clotting factor is deficient.

Plasma donation is a process where blood is drawn from donors and the plasma component separated out from the blood cells. Plasma contains proteins that are used to make different medications and treatments for a variety of conditions. Many people donate plasma on a regular basis to help with supply.

While plasma donation is altruistic and helps many people, hemophiliacs should not donate due to the risks involved. Even though there are no laws prohibiting hemophiliacs from donating plasma, it is against U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. The main concern is that hemophiliacs have a higher risk of infections like hepatitis and HIV due to their condition and frequent treatments. If an infected hemophiliac were to donate plasma, there is potential for these infections to be transmitted to recipients through the donated plasma.

Donating plasma would pose several risks for hemophiliacs themselves due to their blood coagulation issues. Extended bleeding from the needle sites after donation could lead to bruising and hematomas. For severe hemophiliacs, the constant needle pokes and skin breaks that accompany frequent plasma donations raise the risk of infections developing, especially if clotting factors are unable to stop the bleeding quickly.

Can Hemophiliacs Legally Donate Plasma?

While there are no laws explicitly forbidding hemophiliacs from donating plasma, it is against U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for blood establishment operators. The FDA requires extensive screening and testing of all blood donations to ensure the safety of the blood supply.

Hemophiliacs are not recommended to donate plasma due to their higher risk of transmitting infections. People with hemophilia have an impaired immune system due to receiving frequent infusions of clotting factors made from donated blood plasma. This puts them at risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV through these treatments. Even with current screening tests, there is a window period where recently acquired infections may not be detected. If a hemophiliac donor had a recent, undetected infection, there is danger of transmitting it through their donated plasma.

Recipients of contaminated plasma can develop serious, lifelong health problems. An HIV infection from donated plasma is nearly always fatal without antiretroviral therapy. Hepatitis B and C can lead to liver scarring, cirrhosis and even liver cancer. These risks are elevated for immunocompromised recipients, such as cancer patients.

Most severe hemophiliacs donate plasma multiple times per week to cover their clotting factor expenses. The chronic needle insertions carry risks of developing infections like sepsis and endocarditis. Bloodstream infections are especially dangerous for these donors due to their coagulation factor deficiencies.

Even if screening tests show no infections, hemophiliacs may have other blood-borne pathogens that currently lack testing methods. Research continues to identify emerging pathogens that could potentially spread through donated blood. By donating plasma long-term, hemophiliac donors have a higher likelihood of encountering and transmitting an undiagnosed infection.

While well-intentioned, plasma donation by hemophiliacs does not outweigh the health risks to potential recipients. These donors should follow FDA guidelines and abstain from donating to ensure the safest blood supply.

Health Risks for Hemophiliacs Who Donate

In addition to risks of transmitting infections to recipients, hemophiliacs face significant health risks from donating plasma themselves. The most immediate risks come from excessive bleeding after the donation due to their coagulation factor deficiencies.

For hemophilia A and B patients, the needle punctures required for plasma donation can lead to protruding and unpredictable bleeding that lasts much longer. This puts hemophiliac donors at risk of developing hematomas, or pools of clotted blood, around the needle sites. Severe bruising and swelling can occur, causing pain and difficulty bending the affected limbs.

For severe hemophiliacs, the bleeding from donations may not stop on its own, requiring infusions of costly clotting factors. Over time, frequent plasma donations could put a significant financial strain on these donors and their families.

The regular needle insertions themselves raise infections risks for hemophiliac donors. Healthy donors typically experience few complications from weekly plasma donations. But for hemophiliacs, the constant skin breaks increase susceptibility to local and bloodstream infections. Even minor skin wounds take much longer to heal naturally in hemophiliacs due to their clotting issues.

Severe hemophiliacs are at risk of developing sepsis, a life-threatening infection that enters the bloodstream. Their decreased ability to form blood clots allows bacteria easy access into the blood, where it can rapidly spread. Sepsis requires immediate hospitalization and IV antibiotics, posing serious risks for hemophiliacs.

The chronic IV access from frequent donations also increases risks of endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through needle punctures and attach to abnormal heart valves, common in severe hemophiliacs. Untreated endocarditis can cause heart tissue damage, embolism and cardiac arrest.

While hemophiliacs may feel fulfilling by donating plasma, the health risks tend to outweigh the altruistic benefits. The frequent needle insertions, excessive bleeding, higher risk of infections and financial strain of clotting factor usage make plasma donation an unsuitable option for these patients. To ensure their safety, hemophiliacs should avoid donating plasma and instead seek treatments that do not involve puncturing their skin.

In summary, while well-intentioned, donating plasma or blood is not recommended for people with hemophilia. Their clotting abnormalities pose health risks for recipients through potential transmission of undetected infections. Hemophiliacs themselves face significant risks from the frequent needle punctures required for regular donations, including prolonged bleeding, hematomas, infections like sepsis and endocarditis, and increased costs for clotting factor treatments. For these reasons, hemophiliacs should follow FDA guidelines and abstain from donating plasma or blood. Focusing on effective treatments and minimizing skin breaks can help reduce health risks for patients with hemophilia.


1. Is it safe to donate plasma with hemophilia?

No, donating plasma is not recommended for people with hemophilia. While not illegal, it goes against FDA guidelines due to the health risks for both donors and recipients. Hemophiliacs have prolonged bleeding that increases their risk of infections which could be transmitted through donated plasma. They also face risks of hematomas, sepsis and other complications from the frequent needle punctures required for regular plasma donations.

2. Are there complications from donating blood as a hemophiliac?

Yes, hemophiliacs should not donate blood or plasma due to the complications involved. The most common issues stem from their inability to clot properly. Needle punctures for donations can result in extensive bruising, hematomas and prolonged bleeding that takes weeks to resolve. Hemophiliacs are also at higher risk for developing infections like sepsis and endocarditis from the chronic IV access. Regular donations may also necessitate frequent infusions of expensive clotting factors. Overall, the risks outweigh any altruistic benefits for hemophiliacs who want to be donors.

3. Can donors with blood disorders give blood?

In most cases, no. The FDA bans donors with certain medical conditions, including blood disorders, from giving blood to ensure the safety of the blood supply. Along with hemophilia, disorders like sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and platelet disorders generally disqualify donors. This is due to risks like abnormal clotting that makes screening tests less effective and increases the chance of transmitting undetected infections. Cancer treatments and immunosuppressant drugs for other conditions also often prevent donors. Potential donors undergo extensive health evaluations and testing before being approved.

4. Does hemophilia disqualify you from blood donation?

Yes, hemophilia is a permanent disqualification for blood and plasma donation. All donors must pass health evaluations showing their blood is safe for transfusion. Hemophiliacs face issues like abnormal clotting, increased susceptibility to infections and long “window periods” that make screening less effective. Even if current tests show no infections, hemophiliacs may harbor emerging pathogens that lack testing methods. For the safety of recipients, people with hemophilia are not allowed to donate blood or plasma.

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