Want To Know More About Donating Plasma?

make money donate plasma

Life is supposed to be enjoyable, however, a large number of bills and a financially dependent family can hinder your happiness. Some say that in modern society, the key to attaining true happiness is money

However, most of the world’s population lives in poverty or the middle class. With this grim statistic, is it even possible to provide for your family and live debt-free?

Luckily, there are numerous, easy ways that you can combat this monetary unhappiness. From freelancing to selling your unnecessary belongings, it can be easy to make extra cash but it ultimately depends on your skillset. One method to make extra cash that does not require any additional skill set is donating plasma.

Many of us have heard of people who donated plasma or joked about selling a kidney to make extra money, but is this really a thing? This post will explain everything you need to know about donating plasma.

What Is Plasma?

Before you walk into a clinic and expect to turn over your plasma, make sure you know the difference between donating blood and donating plasma.

We usually think of our whole blood as having a stereotypical red color. What you may not know is that our blood actually contains a very vital component called plasma, which has a light yellow color. Plasma contains salts, enzymes, proteins, antibodies, and water.

Plasma’s main function is to transport these necessary nutrients to the rest of the body. Also, plasma contains many antibodies that fight sickness and has a blood clotting function which helps cuts and bruises heal.

Why Do Some People Need Plasma Donations?

  • Bleeding Disorders: Having a bleeding disorder means that you are not able to properly clot blood. This can be dangerous because a simple injury or scratch can result in organ damage, internal bleeding, or in severe cases, death.
  • Immunodeficiency Disorder: Individuals with an immunodeficiency disorder cannot react to traditional antibiotics and they are constantly battling dangerous, life-threatening illnesses.
  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin: Also known as genetic emphysema, Alpha-1 is a hereditary condition that results in lung and liver disease in both adults and children.
  • Dialysis, Rabies, Tetanus, Organ Transplants, and Rh Incompatibilities: Plasma contains hyperimmune globulins, a component vital to the treatment of patients undergoing such treatments, procedures, or with these conditions. Often, the attainment of this component can prevent the onset of a chronic ailment or even death.

Minimum Plasma Donation Requirements

  • Must be 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be able to pass a physical exam and medical screening
  • Be healthy (absence of infectious diseases)
  • Must not have deficiencies (iron, hemoglobin, blood)
  • Have a clean medical history: Your medical history must not include any blood-related ailments.
  • Be a citizen (owning a photo ID, passport, or social security card)

One important thing to remember is to always have a photo ID with you. It is a common occurrence for donors to forget their identification and then be sent home to retrieve it. This can cause a delay and force you to reschedule an appointment.

Process of Donating Plasma

donate plasma process

If you meet the donation requirements, the next step is to find a collection center. There are over 780 licensed plasma collection centers across the U.S, Canada, and Europe.

The regulations pertaining to each center differ based on the governing body of that area. It is wise to perform research on these regulations before making an appointment.

While there are many centers that will pay you to donate plasma, some organizations pay more than the others. Later in this article, we will provide you with a list of the top-paying medical centers.

Medical Screening

If you show up and don’t meet the requirements to make a donation, the center may give you a deferral. A temporary deferral can mean that you are currently ill or have a temporary deficiency of some sort. 

A permanent deferral means that you are ineligible because you may have a permanent condition that prevents you from giving blood because it would negatively affect the recipient.

In some cases, you may be given the chance to overrule the permanent deferral under the assumption that it was mistakenly given.

To do this, you would need a second medical consultation.

Medical Consultation and Examination

This medical screening will include a urine test, reflex check, heart rate analysis, finger pricking, and examination of your arms, hands, and elbows. The elbow part of this may throw you off, but this is done for quality assurance. Any evidence of a needle puncture, rash, injury, or wound can qualify you for a deferral. 

If you successfully pass the medical examinations and screenings, you will be eligible to make a donation. Depending on the location, the faculty employee may mark one of your fingernails with a UV polish to prevent multiple donations and to verify your donor status.

Does Donating Plasma Hurt?

Most people agree that giving plasma feels similar to being stung by a bee. The process, in general, is similar to dialysis. Like giving blood, a needle is inserted into a vein in your arm. This process is called plasmapheresis

The procedure may take as long as an hour and is done in cycles. First, your blood is drawn, then the plasma is removed from the red blood and the remaining red blood is returned to the body with a saline solution that takes the place of the missing plasma. 

How To Prepare For Donating Plasma

how to prepare for donating plasma

Donating can be a long and daunting process, especially for first-time donors.

Here are a few simple tips to properly prepare for your first appointment:

  • Consume 6-8 cups of water or electrolyte juice before your appointment.
  • At least 3 hours before your donation, consume a protein-rich and iron-rich meal.
  • Do not consume fatty foods such as french fries, pizza, or potato chips. This will make your plasma milky.
  • Do not drink alcohol before your donation.
  • Have a good night’s rest.

Iron-rich foods that help with a successful plasma donation include:

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Collards
  • Raisins
  • Watermelon

Protein-rich foods that help with a successful plasma donation include:

  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Shrimp

Be sure to wear comfortable clothes because the process will be lengthy for first-time donors. Most centers offer amenities such as free wi-fi so feel welcome to bring your phone, tablet, or book to pass the time.

After donating, it is important to rest for a couple of hours before going to work, driving, or exercising. Not doing so may result in a prolonged bout of fatigue and dizziness.

Common Side Effects Of Donating Plasma

Making a donation can have the same effects as giving blood or having a blood test done. They can be treated through rest and restraint from any strenuous physical activities. These effects include the following:

  • Dehydration: Due to the process of removing whole blood and extracting the plasma, you will be losing a large amount of fluid. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink liquids containing electrolytes both before and after.
  • Dizziness/ Fainting: This is mostly due to dehydration and sometimes, due to the sight of blood.
  • Fatigue: This is due to the work your body does afterward to replenish lost plasma. Be sure to rest after donating.
  • Bruising: When the needle punctures your vein, a small amount of blood may leak out. If the needle enters soft tissue, this may leave a bruise. It will fade after some time.
  • Discomfort: This can be due to the pain inflicted by undergoing the process, or by the sight of a needle.
  • Infection: Every time a needle penetrates your skin, there is a risk of infection, no matter how small. If you notice swelling or redness at the site that the needle was administered, be sure to visit a doctor right away.
  • Latex Allergy: A small portion of people are allergic to latex and their reaction usually includes rashes, itchy skin, and/or a runny nose. In order to prevent any reactions from a latex allergy, it would be wise to get a skin test before proceeding and notifying the nurse to have the gloves and tools replaced beforehand.

How Much Do You Get Paid For Donating Plasma?

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This is the million-dollar question. How much am I going to make for going through all of this?

You can expect more money from your first donation because the process takes longer. The average pay for giving plasma is usually around $20-50. There are numerous factors that are taken into consideration when deciding your payment:

  • Quantity donated: This is dependent on your weight.
  • How often you donate: Frequent donors are more likely to be paid more than regular donors.
  • Your weight: The FDA sets rules for the amount of plasma you are allowed to donate, dependant on your weight. Therefore, the more you weigh, the more you may get paid. Generally speaking, there are three scales that the FDA uses to specify how much blood plasma can be given:
    • 110-149 pounds
    • 150-174 pounds
    • 175-400 pounds

      Some centers such as Octapharma Plasma offer payment based on two different scales. For instance, Octapharma Plasma will pay donors weighing under 150 pounds less than donors weighing over 150 pounds. However, they will not accept donors weighing under 110 pounds.
  • Collection center: It certain geographical locations, the number of people willing to donate plasma may be less than in other locations. If you locate a center where they struggle to find people willing to donate, they will typically pay more.

In addition, if your blood contains any component in high demand, you will be paid more than a normal donor.

How Are You Paid?

The normal form of payment in donation centers is usually a prepaid debit card. However, some centers have reward systems in which you can redeem points for cash or merchandise.

Be sure to check with your donation center if there is a method of payment that you prefer.

In most cases, they will not deposit the funds into your checking account if you wish to use your own debit card.

Pros of Donating Plasma

  • You will learn to be healthy and hydrated if you are a frequent donor.
  • You can help save lives.
  • You will make money.
  • It is an easy side hustle.
  • You don’t necessarily need to be a citizen and own a social security card to become a plasma donor. If you have a Visa lawyer and the necessary paperwork, you are good to go.

Cons of Donating Plasma

  • You will not be told where your plasma is going.
  • The first time may take a bit longer than anticipated.
  • If you donate only once, there is no guarantee that your plasma will be used to help someone.

Common Plasma Donation Questions

We asked several locations the common types of questions they get on a daily and weekly basis.

Why Do I Feel Light-Headed When Donating?

Because the process is similar to dialysis, you may feel weaker from fluid loss and the strain placed on your cardiovascular system, the system responsible for blood circulation.

This lack of fluid may cause nausea, dizziness, and in some cases, fainting due to dehydration.

If the sight of red blood has made you feel nauseous or queasy in the past, it may not be such a good idea to donate. To combat dizziness, some centers offer the option to donate while laying down if needed.

Is It Safe To Drive After Donating?

Two of the side effects of plasmapheresis (donating plasma) are dehydration and fatigue.

Because you will likely feel very sore and exhausted after donating plasma, it is recommended to take at least an hour’s rest before driving or any other physical activity.

Also, be sure to take advantage of the snacks and juice most facilities provide after donation to ensure that you are feeling well.

Is It Dangerous To Donate Plasma?

Plasma collection is as safe as donating blood. While side effects do exist, most of them are not life-threatening and can usually be solved with a rest.

To ensure that the process is undergone successfully, you will undergo examinations by the medical staff prior to the process to ensure that there will be no complications.

The medical staff is also certified and competent to ensure a positive experience.

Can Donating Plasma Make You Lose Weight?

One common misconception held by donors is that donating actually helps you lose weight.

Yes, the process that your body undergoes to replace the missing plasma burns calories, but the amount of calories burned is not significant enough to cause any weight loss.

Can Medications Disqualify You From Donating?

Some medications can be risk factors for either the recipient or donor. During the initial screening and examination procedures, it is imperative to tell the staff about any recent medications you have been on.

Any medication that may negatively impact your blood flow will result in a deferral.

Here are some of the medications that can prohibit you from donating blood:

  • Acne medications: Acne medications carry the risk of birth defects.
  • Antiplatelet medications: Such medications include Aspirin, Plavix, and Ticlid.
  • Growth hormone injections: Using any sort of hormone injection disqualifies you from giving plasma.
  • Finasteride and dutasteride: These are medications both known to cause birth defects in male fetuses.
  • Psoriasis medication: Because birth defects and even death are associated with the use of this medication, it is recommended to wait at least 3 years before donating.
  • Multiple Sclerosis medication: The Red Cross states that you must wait at least 2 years after taking this medication to donate.

How Many Times Can You Donate Plasma In A Week?

According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), an individual can donate plasma up to two times weekly. However, there must be a strict 2 day period between each donation.

For instance, if you choose to donate on a Monday, you would be eligible for donation again on Wednesday.

This is due to safety requirements and how quickly your body can replenish missing plasma. The closer your weight is to at least 110, the longer it can take.

Do You Have To Pay Taxes On Plasma Donations?

do you have to pay taxes on plasma donations

A widely debated topic, the IRS claims that a donation can be classified as a non-cash gift. Therefore, it is not required to report your donation in your income.

However, it is safer to check with your accountant on this topic before filing your taxes.

Top-Paying Plasma Donation Centers

CSL Plasma pays higher for any donations compared to other donation centers.

Usually, a donor will be paid $50-$75 for each of the first five donations. These five donations must be completed within a specified time range, usually around twenty-one to forty-five days.

This time period varies per location and it is best to check with your closest center about it.

Who Pays The Most For Plasma?

The amount you will be paid for a plasma donation can vary greatly by location. To date, there are five centers that pay almost $400 a month.

These centers are as follows: KEDPlasma, CSL Plasma, BPL Plasma, BioTest Plasma Center, and BioLife Plasma Services

  • BioLife:
    Locations: AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
  • BioTest Plasma Center:
    Locations: AR, FL, GA, IA, NC, NE, NM, OH, PA, SC, SD, TX
  • BPL Plasma:
    Locations: AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, NC, NM, OH, OK, TX
  • CSL Plasma:
    Locations: AL, AZ, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV, WI
  • KED Plasma:
    Locations: AL, FL, GA, LA, NC, NY, SC

What Happens To Your Blood Plasma At Collection Centers?

Approximately 2/3 of a liter of plasma is collected at the time of donation, depending on the donor’s weight. In the current market, a liter of plasma is worth around $200 before entering the manufacturing process.

After the process, it is worth around $500. 

Most centers sell plasma to companies that perform research on methods to treat chronic ailments that relate to malfunctions of the immune system.

If your plasma is not being sold, it is most likely being used to treat a patient with a life-threatening disease. 

However, they will not tell you exactly what your plasma will be used for due to privacy policies. Often times, there is a chance they will be selling plasma to companies who will make a profit off of it. It’s a painful reality of life.

Let’s face it. Many people donate blood, organs, and even bone marrow to make extra money. However, some of these ways can be painful, and hardly worth the risk.

Luckily, making a plasma donation is a side hustle that just about any healthy individual can do. 

If you currently have a job, donating can be a way to make extra money. Life is not all about bills and debt. You can use this extra money to fulfill your own needs and wants. 

Being a plasma donor is a win-win for both parties. Your donated plasma can possibly save a life, and you can make a little extra cash on the side.

Short on cash? Make your first donation today!

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About The Author

Ryan Luke

Ryan Luke is a father of three, husband, financial coach, and full-time police lieutenant. His inspirational story about his struggle to make ends meet, to paying off his home in less than 10 years, has been featured on MarketWatch and other media outlets. To learn more about Ryan or to send him a message, visit his contact page here.

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