By Annette Pinder

Do you have a negative blood type, such as A-, B-, O- or AB-? If so, you are among a select group of people eligible to join a special program that collects plasma to help babies. Your plasma contains a substance that can prevent hemolytic disease (HDN) which occurs when an Rh-negative mother’s immune system produces antibodies that attach to red blood cells of her Rh-positive baby, resulting in severe illness or death of the newborn.

KEDPLASMA Somerset Labs in Williamsville is combatting this terrible disease by screening and collecting plasma from donors with negative blood types. This plasma is then processed and turned into a therapy that, when injected into a pregnant Rh-Negative mom, 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% is water. The remaining fluid – plasma – transports antibodies, clotting 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, and helps maintain blood pressure and acid-base balance.

Since plasma cannot be produced artificially, it can only be acquired through the generosity of healthy people who donate their plasma for the eventual use by others in need. This involves a procedure called plasmapheresis, which involves drawing blood and separating the plasma from the blood cells, and returning the cells and platelets to the donor. Donating takes a little over an hour. Since plasma is replenished in the body more quickly than blood cells, people can donate as often as twice within seven days, making it possible for one person to support several moms and babies each week!

Eligible donors also receive compensation for their time and benefit. To qualify, men and women must have blood that is type A-, B-, O-, or AB-. Donors must be between ages 18 and 68, and in good health, and reside within 90 miles of KEDPLASMA Somerset Labs. Female donors must be sterile or postmenopausal. Donor will be screened by a KEDPLASMA Somerset Lab medical associate to ensure that there aren’t any issues affecting their ability to donate.

KEDPLASMA Somerset Labs, located at 15 Limestone Drive in Williamsville, is a subsidiary of KEDPLASMA USA, which specializes in collecting 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 for a telephone interview that will help determine if you qualify for an in-person interview. Learn more at