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Plasma Donation: Sell Your Blood for Cash

Updated on April 21, 2016

Make Money with Plasma Donation

Fewer plasma donations are happening now that the economy is getting better. But if you need to make a little extra cash, donating plasma is still a great way to do it.

I think donating plasma is an amazingly great thing to do. It’s a safe and easy way for people to help others while making some extra cash. I’ve known poor college students that might have been homeless college students without this option. One time at the plasma center I met a single dad who told me he’d been giving plasma so he could put gifts for his daughter under the Christmas tree.

Without plasma donors, hemophiliacs, burn victims, people with immunodeficiencies and autoimmune diseases, those undergoing translplants or other major surgeries, and countless other people in need could die waiting for essential transfusions. This is a great example of a win-win situation, but I’m sure you have questions about the process before you roll up your sleeve and let a phlebotomist take your precious plasma away.

Let's take some time to talk about how to make money selling plasma!

Question: Are there any rules about who can donate plasma?

Answer: Donors must be 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds (50kg). All individuals must first pass a medical examination, a medical history screening, and tests for transmissible viruses.

What is plasma?

Plasma makes up about 55% of your total blood volume. It is a yellowish liquid composed mostly of water (about 90%) that carries things such as vitamins and hormones through your body. Platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells circulate through your body while suspended in plasma.

Question: Does my blood type affect my ability to donate plasma?

Answer: People with all blood types (A, B, AB, and O) can donate plasma. Since these are blood types and not plasma types, they don't affect who can give or receive plasma.

Is donating plasma safe?

Absolutely. Most complications from plasma donation are very minor. One common complication is the development of a hematoma (which is just fancy doctor-speak for “bruise”) at the needle entry site. I personally had a vein infiltrated once which is when the needle goes through the vein twice. That left a real big bruise, but it didn’t hurt very much at all, and there’s no medical danger to it.

Are plasma donation centers clean?

Some people have images of druggies lined up out the door looking to sell plasma in dingy clinics. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve donated plasma at three different locations, and each was impeccably clean. Remember that there’s nobody forcing you to donate, and you can always walk out if you feel uncomfortable.

Is it ethical to make money selling plasma?

I can only speak for my own conscience here, and this is how I think of it: Plasma treatments save lives. The payment system was adopted because a very large amount of plasma is needed for treatments. In order to encourage the maximum number of donations, the system was incentivized. For those who are on the fence morally about this, I suggest you ask your physician what they think. My doctor said the vital need for plasma far outweighs any of his moral concerns.

Does the procedure hurt?

The technical term for the process is plasmapheresis, and if you don’t like needles, plasma donation probably isn’t for you. A relatively large needle is used. After the stick, the most you should feel is a slight discomfort in your arm. I typically don’t feel anything after the needle is inserted.

How long does it take?

The process itself takes about 45 minutes to an hour. You aren’t allowed to sleep or eat, but I usually take my laptop and either watch a movie or do homework.

Question: Are there risks involved in donating too often?

Answer: Long-term plasma donation can lead to habitual dehydration, lowered levels of antibodies, and deficient levels of iron or hemoglobin. You need your plasma, too. This is why there are limits placed on the frequency of donations.

How often can I donate plasma?

Two times every seven days. Don’t try to work the system and go to multiple donation centers. On top of being stupid (you need to keep enough plasma in your system so your blood doesn’t turn to sludge), there is a national database that all centers check.

How much money can I make selling plasma?

Every center has its own compensation plan. Generally, you are paid $20 to $25 for the first visit and $30 to $45 for the second. I go to BioLife Services and they pay $20 plus $45, for a total of $65 a week (and $260 a month). On top of this, many centers have additional cash prizes or gift certificate programs to keep things fun and interesting.

Question: Can I make more money if I have a rare blood type?

Answer: Although AB donors have a blood type compatible with only 3% of the population, this doesn't mean they make any more money. Rare and common blood types make the same amount.

How do I get paid for my plasma?

Some places pay in cold, hard cash. BioLife gives you a debit card that they deposit money into every time you donate.

How to Get Paid for Plasma Donation

The video below is one a donor shot while he was giving plasma. This is a must-watch if you’re nervous about what the procedure actually looks like.

The Plasmapharesis Procedure

Before you donate plasma, follow these tips:

  • Drink lots of water. This can speed up the process by pumping up your veins.
  • Avoid greasy and fatty food, which can give plasma a milky appearance and disqualify you for donation.
  • No coffee or booze. These drinks dehydrate you.
  • Eat something healthy. Protein and complex carbohydrates like bread, cereal, and fruit are best.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the likelihood you’ll feel lightheaded after donating. Not a fun way to drive home.

This is the kind of machine your center may use to take your plasma.
This is the kind of machine your center may use to take your plasma.

First-Time Plasma Donors

it’s a little bit different for the uninitiated. If it’s your first time, be sure to bring a valid form of government-issued identification (passport, driver's license, or state ID), proof of residence (utility bill, car insurance, etc.), and your social security card. You will undergo a more exhaustive medical history and physical examination your first time: Including the plasma donation itself, this visit should take about 2 to 2.5 hours. You’ll also be asked to stick around for 15 minutes so they can make sure you’re not the type that gets lightheaded after this sort of thing.

Step 1: Pre-Screening:

  • Check in at the front desk
  • Answer screening questions (at BioLife, these are done on a touchscreen computer)
  • Wait for your turn

Step 2: Screening:

  • Your name will be called to begin the screening
  • Get your weight checked (you must weigh at least 110 pounds to donate)
  • Blood pressure check
  • Pulse check
  • Temperature check
  • Finger prick (a small sample of blood from your finger is checked to measure protein and hematocrit)

Step 3: Plasmapheresis (the actual plasma donation part):

  • You will be directed to lie down and get comfortable.
  • They'll do an iodine cleansing at the needle entry site (you choose which arm).
  • The needle is placed in your vein.
  • Sit back and relax for 45 minutes to an hour. As blood is taken out, plasma removed, and the rest is pumped back in, you can watch your plasma bag slowly fill up. The amount taken is dependent on your weight and how quickly the bag fills depends in part on how hydrated you are.
  • Once full, the plasma bag is removed.
  • Saline is pumped into your system. This water and salt solution fills in for the loss of blood volume and makes your body feel cold for a few minutes (since it’s room temperature and your body should be around 98.6 degrees). This is why many donors bring blankets.
  • The needle is removed and you’re bandaged up.

Step 4: Getting paid:

  • Some places pay cash. BioLife puts deposits money onto the debit card they give you.

Step 5: Schedule your next appointment.

Source

Finding Plasma Donation Centers

There are many plasma donation sites you can visit to donate. The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association search engine lists many of the donation centers in the United States, and I go to BioLife Plasma Services. Contact one in your area to set up your screening appointment (where you will also make your first donation if you pass the screening). If you can’t find a center here, try Googling plasma donation in your area, looking in the yellow pages, or asking at a local hospital.


Comments

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  • profile image

    moreinformed 6 years ago

    Thanks so much for putting this whole site together. I was hesitant about the process and now I see the real value to society and appreciate the return price I hopefully will receive. The videos about the processes and concerns were a great explanation of all of the aspects of the event.

  • madhubber profile image
    Author

    madhubber 7 years ago from New York

    Hi John,

    I believe that the machine used is simply called a plasmapheresis machine (as that's what the procedure is known as). Hope that helps!

  • profile image

    Vegabond 7 years ago

    Plasma donation isn't scary. Where I go the worst part is waiting in line to get screened if the place is packed (Sometimes I've waited over an hour, other times I get screened almost as soon as I walk into the door. First come, first serve, here.) They then take you into a room, get your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, prick you with one of those little needles diabetics use to test their blood (it rarely hurts, and when it does it ain't much), collect a tiny vial of your blood, and toss it into a centrifuge. Next they ask you the same questions that they ask every time ("In the past six months have you gotten any tattoos or body piercings? In the past eight weeks have you had sex with or been in close contact with someone who has hepatitis?" That sort of thing. Then they check the blood they took for your protein counts and something else, and if everything checks out you're good to go.

    Once the usual BS is done with you wait for them to call your name (takes next to no time), and then they bring you to this curvy bed thing where you're sitting back with your legs up, but you are sitting up. Rather comfy. After confirming your information one last time (name, date of birth, last four of your social) they swab the hell out of the inside of your elbow with iodine, and then they stab you. Yes, it usually does hurt, but if you get the right person to stab you it might not. I don't like it so I always close my eyes and look away.

    My plasma donation place has TVs all over the place playing movies (PG13 or lower only), except during football season when they'll have the game on Sundays. Thing is, I hate their movies so I always bring my trusty laptop to tear up their open WiFi. After about an hour to an hour and a half (I donate a full bottle as I am 200 pounds) the machine will transfer all your blood back, flush out the machine, and the techs will unhook you by pulling out the needle (doesn't hurt a bit) and taping on a bandage to your puncture site. Then they give you a paper with a pin code, which you take to an ATM nearby to get paid. Total average time for me in and out: About 2 hours.

    Personally, I don't like doing it but it does give me a bit of extra cash to survive on until I _finally_ find a real job. And truth be told, it ain't that bad. The worst part is being jabbed with a needle and that's a relatively minor pain which lasts all of 2 seconds.

    Saving lives? Eff that, I wanna eat! XD

  • profile image

    Ashleigh 7 years ago

    Excellent article. My fiancee and I have been thinking about doing this and with this article and watching BioLife's insider look at a first time donation, I can't wait to make my appointment. I used to give blood but haven't in a while so it'll feel good to spend a couple hours a week giving to someone in need. Not a big fan of needles, but I think this would be absolutely worth it.

  • profile image

    jesse 7 years ago

    i am actually part of the access clinical program mentioned earlier in this thread, and yes, they pay well. ofcourse i spent alot of time in the hospital to qualify. the company i do my donations with is cangene, and they are a great bunch to work with, while yes i hate needles, they make it as pleasant as possible and the center is immaculately clean. even the public bathrooms are spotless. if i didnt live an hour away i would probably continue after the program with access clinical ends. for other people they pay 25 per donation onto a prepaid debit card

  • esllr profile image

    esllr 7 years ago

    Informative and interesting Hub.Blood drives give snacks. Giving Feels Good.

    Being able to have the Option of getting paid is also a privilege when your in need. Thanks

  • profile image

    mike 7 years ago

    I started donations in Wisconsin at $20 and $30 for $50 total per week but just recently the cost went down to $20 and $20 per week for only $40. Plus service seems to have gotten worse; less workers means longer wait times and rushed assistance...

    I wonder how come plasma donation prices have decreased? I have heard that the mark-up these plasma centers are making on our plasma is HUGE!

  • profile image

    ew 7 years ago

    I also tried to donate and they told me my veins were to small, I asked if there is anything I can do. They told me no. I am gonna drink lots of water and try the other place in town here. It just sucks.

  • profile image

    Brenda Jennings 7 years ago

    I just donated my first plasma yesterday and go back tomorrow to donate the second. I'm on SSI (disability) and live in Texas, so I'm wondering if I have to claim this money as " earned income" on my taxes? Being on SSI, I dont file taxes because its not "earned" money. So will this income make me have to file taxes?

    I do know they took my social security number, so I dont know if they report the money I get for donation. Thanks!

  • profile image

    kaliprincess22 7 years ago

    I HAVE SMALL VIENS TOO SO I CAN ONLY GIVE BLOOD IT WORTH IT IF YOU NEED A QUICK 2O

  • profile image

    cjscott 7 years ago

    I tried to donate and was told my veins were too small, so to drink lots of water and come back in 6mos. I haven't found anything on web to say this is so, and that is worthwhile to go back. What do you think?

  • profile image

    slickgirl2006 7 years ago

    I just signed up last week to start donating, but on the that day was not able to donate because i didn't eat enough. My question is how much should you eat before you donate. I go in the morning and don't have an appitite, i need to make sure i eat just enough to not get sick. I also have a problem with a high pulse rate, is any suggestions to try to lower it on my day of donating

  • profile image

    Kris A. 7 years ago

    I donated for 2 yrs solid twice a week, then got an on call job and it was more complicated to do. I took 2 years off from donating and I recently started going back. It is quick simple and you meet alot of cool other regulars. I do look like I have track marks, you can't avoid it. Getting stuck that many times, and that often. xo_sirk_ox@yahoo.com

  • profile image

    Sarah R Wertz 7 years ago

    I've scheduled my first plasma donation for this Thursday. The question I have is: I tend to get scared or nervous when I get my blood taken or so on. Will I pass out if I get too scared or nervous? Does the blood get taken out and put back in at the same time?

  • profile image

    jay 7 years ago

    Been selling my plasma for a few weeks now, money helps as I have lost my 70k job and now exist on 1300 a month plus plasma cash.....the economy is especially cruel to those over 55. The plus side, no more pestering phone calls from the dispatcher who un-beknown to him, has ruined lot's of family gatherings and pleasant chats around the fire ring...my pockets are thin, life is much richer as it turns out , day by day.

  • profile image

    Anne de Clamence 7 years ago

    Do you get paid more on your first time there because you have to have the physical?

  • profile image

    timtom 7 years ago

    Why in the world do the "powers that be" feel it is perfectly fine to sell their plasma for money, yet when it comes to organs, selling them is out of the question. Thousands of infants, children and adults die every day from a lack of available organs. There is a critical shortage of available organs that qualify for donation practically continuously. Yes, it is more complicated regarding organs, and there are moral questions, but it is food for thought. I am always dumfounded at why in the world so many people refuse to donate their organs if they die, and take their organs to their graves (or flames in cremations) to simply rot or burn into useless dust and ash. So many lives could be saved if more people would donate organs. So fill out those organ donation cards PLEASE! I worked in hospitals for 15 years, and it is so sad to see people die who could have had a 2nd chance at life if others would simply fill out organ donor cards!

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    I have donated blood many times and plasma once. I have also sold my blood a couple of times. In principle I am all for giving and helping those less fortunate than myself BUT if they are paying for it I am not going to complain. Any cash is helpful to me.

    Interesting and well informed article. Thank you.

  • profile image

    William 7 years ago

    Is there a donation center near me in Newark NJ?

  • profile image

    kellarlln 7 years ago

    What are compensation rates in Central Washington(state) per visit?

  • profile image

    kellarlln 7 years ago

    Anyone experience dramatic weight loss while donating?

    I went from 130/40 and a few months later was

  • profile image

    moviedownloads 7 years ago

    How often can you donate Plasma without it being hazardous?

  • wsp2469 profile image

    wsp2469 7 years ago from Alta Loma, Ca

    I donated plasma twice a week while going to college in the 80s. I was paid 50 bucks a week and since there was no place to do this near my home I could only do it while school was in session. Still, it paid for beer, smoke, comics and porn.

  • Betty Reid profile image

    Betty Reid 7 years ago from Texas

    I tried plasma donation for a while, and it was not bad. Like you said, the needle hurts, but not for long. Eventually I became too poor to eat well, and they started rejecting me for low blood protein. Then I had to find a full-time job.

  • TnFlash profile image

    TnFlash 7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

    Great Hub! I have donated to pick up extra cash. The rates are a little lower here in Florida. $20 & $25

  • Zarathushtra profile image

    Zarathushtra 7 years ago from United States

    This article has been very informative, thank you for writing it!

  • supermom_in_ny profile image

    supermom_in_ny 7 years ago from NY

    Rated your article up! Great content and presentation. It's also a blessing to save a life. The money is an added plus.

    :)

  • profile image

    Deana 7 years ago

    Hi! Do you know of other places that pay? There's no BioLife in my state! deanalisi@cox.net

  • profile image

    Deana 7 years ago

    Hi! Do you know of other places that pay? There's no BioLife in my state! deanalisi@cox.net

  • profile image

    teddysalad 7 years ago

    do you all realize how much hospitals pay for plasma? IT'S A LOT. A heck of a lot more than is being paid to the donor. Some of you are very naive and childish.

  • missmarsh profile image

    Loralie Lyndon 7 years ago from USA

    Excellent, excellent hub! Very informative and the pictures are amazing! I'm really into donating blood to help others, but I've never donated plasma. Thanks for sharing this awesome hub!

  • thaninja profile image

    thaninja 7 years ago from America

    Oh man, just looking at this hub made me a little queezy. I am sure that I could do it, and I probably should give blood / plasma, but I am not a fan of hospitals or needles!

  • madhubber profile image
    Author

    madhubber 7 years ago from New York

    Artemus - I don't think there is any reason at all to be nervous. It does not "surely weaken your immune system." I appreciate the comment, but you should be careful when making statements like that with absolutely no scientific backing. There is no evidence that plasma donation has ANY negative consequences on the donors body.

  • Artemus Gordon profile image

    Artemus Gordon 7 years ago

    This really makes me nervous. I know a teen who is doing this for gas money and he is always sick. It surely weakens your immune system and with the flu going around that cannot be good.

  • Alicia8657 profile image

    Alicia8657 8 years ago from Georgia

    Great hub! Too bad Georgia dosent have a bio center here :(

  • profile image

    Aslanspal 8 years ago

    I did fine my first try...but some of the people were snotty and some gave you information...my 1st try was fine but they readjusted the needle twice and it bruised me on my 2nd visit that disqualified that arm...then no one told me to drink the water the day before not the day of ..or have coffee that morning or have some salty food so my blood pressure was 102 then they gave me 15 minutes but I know it was less and this snotty girl said it was to high again...I asked how much ..I could swears she looked at the old reading , because she told me 102...she was no help another lady who looked at my bruise was...I am older these young workers really are not patient with us the girl just dismissed me with little or no respect and just said donate some other time , and then just walked away...how do you complained at these places. A nice fellow at the front said

    I could give the next day as long as it was 100 or below and he was nice enough to give me a password and login, but I traveled 28 miles for nothing!! btw this was at biolife in Fayetteville, Arkansas ...what is a good way to avoid "Sugar" that was her name the next time???

  • Chris1|Chris2 profile image

    Chris1|Chris2 8 years ago from Los Angeles

    Really informative hub. I will definitely be checking out donation centers in my area!

  • profile image

    skippy 8 years ago

    I see no problem with getting for this. I think you shoud be paid for your blood as well. After the place you donate to is going to charge the person who receives it. Then they will get charge a secound time by the hospital that gives it to them. Laws that prevent you from getting a fee are just protecting the company and hospitals from having to pay up for me taking a risk of infection and other complications, I don't care how small the chances are. I was told that there was a small 2% chance that may back surgery would cause more pain. Well I was in that 2%.

  • profile image

    plasmaking 8 years ago

    There are also other companies that pay much more for plasma, the only thing is you have to be sick. This company looks for people who have auto immune disorders or viral infections and pay as much as 500 each time you donate. Check out this site accessclinical.com

  • myfirst50000 profile image

    myfirst50000 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Very courageous article! I just couldn't watch the pics for very long... We should all donate plasma and blood like you do.

  • Eaglekiwi profile image

    Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

    Interesting information.

    Enjoyed learning something new. Thankyou.

  • profile image

    PaulD 8 years ago

    Hi all, I was considering donating and wondering about blood pressure requirements. I know mine can go from normal to high, anywhere from 110 - 140. What range do you have to be in to donate ?

  • BundleBoy profile image

    BundleBoy 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    Nice! very informative hub.

  • metaphysician profile image

    metaphysician 8 years ago

    Here at my place nobody pay for donation especially plasma. Anyway if that's donation, money doesn't matter. Thanks for the info.

  • discostu profile image

    discostu 8 years ago from Australia

    I had to do plasmapheresis for health reasons. Let me tell you it was no fun!

    I would say though to all of you, give blood / plasma, you could save a life like mine was saved 15 years ago.

    :-)

  • JPSO138 profile image

    JPSO138 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

    Wow, that is great. Here in our country when you donate blood or plasma there is not payment. But of course, you can sell your blood. I have heard of some people selling their blood from time to time.

  • carpesomediem profile image

    carpesomediem 8 years ago

    I donated plasma during college, and it is amazing what hospitals and other facilites can do with what you give them from your body. This is something that many people should seriously consider, because it does help save lives and if it can help your wallet, too, what's so bad about donating?

  • tomerr profile image

    tomerr 8 years ago from Far Far Away...

    Great hub!

  • Mac Mission profile image

    Mac Mission 8 years ago from bangalore

    good job ..... keep it up .. but not for money pls

  • MITB profile image

    MITB 8 years ago

    Saves lives and get paid...not bad, not bad at all!

  • Alice Paul profile image

    Alice Paul 8 years ago from Texas

    I know someone who ended up with track marks b/c he donated so much...is there a way to avoid that?

  • profile image

    BrianC 8 years ago

    Very informative--I'm just now getting back into donating plasma because I'm going to be laid off in a few days. I'm kind of bummed, my local Biolife dropped their amounts $10 a week from when I used to go.

  • mwaky profile image

    mwaky 8 years ago

    interesting

  • Garrett McLee profile image

    Garrett McLee 8 years ago from Florida

    I always just donate for free. Great hub!

  • Simao profile image

    Simao 8 years ago from Porugal

    very usefull thanks for this great hub

  • Lady Rogue profile image

    Lady Rogue 8 years ago from Cleveland Heights, Ohio

    Great info, madhubber! Very cool!

  • madhubber profile image
    Author

    madhubber 8 years ago from New York

    @annvans: Yeah, I would never do a place that only had walk in service. One of the benefits of BioLife is that you can schedule online. I'm usually hooked up and donating my plasma within 10 minutes of walking in.

    @ rosierific: You should try calling a local donation center. They should be able to tell you if your medical problems preclude you from being a donor.

  • rosierific profile image

    rosierific 8 years ago from Florida

    very interesting subject! I've always wondered about this... I have some medical problems myself and don't know if I'd personally be able to do it (though I'd love to!)

  • profile image

    annvans 8 years ago

    Good thing to see that someone is having good luck with donating plasma. I tried to donate plasma where I lived and I could never find a parking place and it was only on a walk in basis where you spend 3 hours or more waiting to get in. I found a parking place about a mile away, but figured if I walk a mile in 100 degree weather, I would not be giving plasma by the time I got there, lol. I guess some people liked to do it since the place was so busy all the time. Great hub!

  • wandererh profile image

    David Lim 8 years ago from Singapore

    This is interesting but unfortunately, where I come from, they don't pay you for your plasma. Would have been a real nice source of spare change. :)

  • madhubber profile image
    Author

    madhubber 8 years ago from New York

    Hi LondonGirl, That's true. This Hub is specifically for people here in the States.

  • LondonGirl profile image

    LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

    In the UK, I don't think anyone is ever paid to donate. It's against the law to be paid to donate organs, bone marrow, sperm, or eggs, and the National Blood Service recruits volunteers.

    http://www.blood.co.uk/index.html

  • madhubber profile image
    Author

    madhubber 8 years ago from New York

    Hi Whikat, Good point. At one point when I was donating I was also a smoker and coffee drinker. It's good to point out that it doesn't preclude you from donating. I never noticed much of a difference either, but most donation centers seem to recommend you stay away from them the morning you plan to give. Thanks for helping me clarify!

  • profile image

    Whikat 8 years ago

    Hi Madhubber, Nice to meet a fellow plasma donor. I liked your hub, it is very informative. I did want to comment that I am a smoker, a coffee drinker, and a regular donor and the coffee and cigarettes have never had an effect on me during or after donating. I think it is good that you advise caution, but I wanted to let people also know that they do not have to change their lifestyle and habbits just to be able to donate. Thanks for the article it was a good read. :-)

  • madhubber profile image
    Author

    madhubber 8 years ago from New York

    Hi raquel: I've never come across any donation center that pays different amounts based on blood type.

    I'm guessing you're thinking about how O negative blood is in such high demand from the Red Cross. For whole blood donation, O neg is particularly important because they are "universal donors" (anybody can be transfused with their blood).

    Some plasma donation centers do pay more for people who weigh more since they're able to donate a larger volume of plasma.

    I hope that answers your question! Let me know if I can help any more.

  • profile image

    raquel 8 years ago

    i lrft you my e mail so please try to answer me this question there... does it matter what blood type you are as far as the pay goes?