Saving lives starts
with our donors

Willy Felton Donor Centre Director, Houston, Texas

It all starts in our donation centres. We ensure life‑saving plasma is collected in a safe, clean, and friendly environment.

We are open seven days a week from 7am–7pm for our valued customers. As Centre Director, I arrive at 6am to perform morning quality controls with my staff and get our centre ready for daily operations. We welcome our donors throughout the day, and work to ensure they have the best possible experience in our centre. I believe it is important to build a strong rapport with each of our donors through mutual respect and excellent customer service so that the centre feels like more of a family environment to them, and not just a business.

Centre management collaborate to ensure quality and traceability of plasma collected.

We keep the patient in mind with everything we do. Because we collect plasma for life-saving medicines, we operate in a highly regulated environment. We have multiple standard operating procedures and checks in place to ensure the safety of our donors and the quality of the plasma we collect. We explain our procedures to donors to make sure they understand how our processes benefit both our donors and patients. In everything we do, we think about the final product and the millions of patients who rely on plasma-based medicines.

We are the very beginning of the process, and without our donors there would be no finished product. Our donors express many different reasons for donating – and their motivations vary. Some of our donors give plasma to earn supplemental income, others donate to save a life, and still more donate because they have either been a patient, or know someone who benefited from the medicines we help make. We also have donors who enjoy coming to our centre and spending time with our staff and donors because they like the social interaction. For our donors and centre staff, we are all part of a larger plasma community.

We are the very beginning of the process, and without our donors there would be no finished product.

I have worked in the plasma industry since 2005. I started as a donor during college. I began working in a plasma donation centre as a plasma processor, then was promoted to training coordinator before leaving to study public health. I came back and opened the Houston centre in the spring of 2016. I consider myself an ambassador of the plasma industry, and I want our company to be the face of the industry. To me, Octapharma Plasma is the standard because our focus on training, operations and customer experience drive our success.

As a leader, I’m a coach at heart. I enjoy watching employees grow into the next phases of their careers. Assisting in their journeys is the most enjoyable part of my job. If I can build a cohesive team and help my staff fulfil their highest potential, that’s wonderful. I’m proud to be part of a company that develops professional employees while contributing to the wellbeing of our donors, patients, and communities.

Our valued donors provide life-saving plasma for the medicines we create.

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category 4 hurricane on the evening of 25 August 2017. Over a four-day period, Houston, the fourth most populous city in the USA, with 2.3 million people, faced historic flooding after intense rainfall. A year’s worth of rain (more than 50 inches) fell in Houston in a matter of days. Everyone in the area, including donors and employees, was affected one way or another. The Octapharma Plasma corporate office created a fundraiser page for our 80+ US donation centres to join together and raise more than $10,000 dollars to help centre staff affected by the flooding.

Donor Centre Director Willy Felton said, “Hurricane Harvey was a tough, eye-opening experience for everyone. My entire neighbourhood was surrounded by water, so I was living on an island for two weeks. People were even trapped on the roofs of buildings. Members of our staff and donor community lost everything, including cars and clothes. It was a devastating loss for a lot of people.”

Of Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, Willy said, “We still have some donors that have not returned, have been displaced, or have lost everything. The Houston centre’s donors and staff received an outpouring of support and have been as positive as possible throughout this experience. After all, material items can be replaced, but no lives were lost, and that’s what’s most important. In our recovery efforts, we’ve found that Hurricane Harvey actually reinforced the importance of donating plasma. Our donors are more motivated than ever to donate life-saving plasma that enriches the lives of others.”

Our donation process takes care to fully
support our donors and their needs.


Donor arrives at centre and is welcomed
by staff.

Donors must be +18 years old, +50kg in weight and healthy

Industry-wide figures*

61% of source plasma donors are male

30% of total donations are given by donors age 25-35

55% by donors +35 years old

17.5 donations per donor on average in 2012

An industry-wide collection of donor demographic data for 2012. Source Plasma Donors: A Snapshot. (2017) Schreiber, G. B., Kimber, M. C., Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association.


Donor's identity is verified; details are
managed in our donor registry system.

First-time plasma donors are required to bring a current, valid photo ID, proof of a Social Security number, and proof of their current address. Return donors are required to verify their identity with a valid photo ID before each plasma donation.

Donating fits around my full-time job, and is a way to make money while making a difference.

plasma donor


Donor complets a health questionnaire,
physical screening, and blood sample

As soon as I learned how much plasma helps others, I knew I was going to donate as much as I could.

Octapharma employee
and plasma donor


The donation process
takes 45 to 90 minutes

300 to 880ml
of plasma
is taken each time


Donations are labeled with a barcode, so
at any point in the process the plasma
can be traced

Every plasma unit collected is traceable. If a unit does not pass rigorous testing, the donor is notified that they will not be permitted to donate again, their name is added to a national deferral registry, and their plasma donation is pulled from production.


Each plasma sample is extensively
tested to ensure only safe, quality
plasma is used in the manufacture of

Donating lets me contribute to my family’s budget while still focusing on my children. Knowing real patients makes donating extremely meaningful for me.

Plasma donor

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