Concerns among BioLife donors could be unjustified

Chris Dittrick

For students who donate at BioLife in Marquette, the question of whether or not regular donations of blood plasma has an effect on health or scholastic performance is a common notion, however it may be unfounded, according to campus and BioLife medical practitioners.

While some students have found that donating plasma at BioLife is a rewarding and safe experience, others have found it to leave them feeling weak, dizzy or generally in unfavorable health.

However, according to Grant Langdon, the resident director of Spooner Hall, symptoms after donating have, from his experiences, always been temporary.

“It seems to me that the effects are definitely short-term,” he said. “I tended to feel weak and a little light-headed after donating blood (plasma), but it went away after a few hours.”

According to Danielle Wells, regional marketing representative for BioLife Plasma Services, such concerns are not realistic in the face of diligent medical practices.

According to Wells, it is true that a healthy lifestyle is important for those who wish to be donors, and there are protections in place for those who wish to become donors to ensure that there are no health risks.

Additionally, all potential donors are screened via a medical examination before their first donation. This includes monitoring the donor’s blood pressure, vital signs, hematocrit and plasma protein levels as well as a thorough check into the potential donor’s health history and familial health background.

“To address your specific health concerns, we only accept healthy donors,” Wells said. “Low immunity, low energy and especially low academic performance — in fact, many of our student donors use the time they spend donating actually studying for class — cannot be attributed solely to donating plasma.”

Plasma donations are obtained with guaranteed sterile materials that are disposed immediately after collection. Every care is taken to preserve the health of the donors throughout the collection process.

Disposable and sterile-sealed equipment and materials go a long way to guarantee this, according to Wells.

“These steps help ensure the safety of the donor and protect the recipients of the therapies processed from their plasma,” Wells said.

According to Wells, BioLife has had a number of donors who have donated for years, managing to donate hundreds of times and have not experienced any ill effects or deficiency. A pair of donors have logged over a thousand donations over the course of thirteen years. If there was any chance that there was a negative impact of donating, it would have been long since discovered, but Wells said there simply is not.

“Donating plasma is not only safe, but is a great cause that saves the lives of countless people globally,” Wells said.

According to Adam Burri, RN and Registered Acupuncturist at the Ada B. Vielmetti Health Center, there is little reason for students to worry about blood donation.

“This is a process that’s been in use for decades,” Burri said. “There is little reason to believe BioLife would stay in business if the process were unsafe. Ultimately though, anyone who is that afraid of donation can always choose to not donate. It is a voluntary activity.”

Information regarding BioLife services can be found at