How To Ethically Make Money Donating Plasma

If you’re interested in making money by donating plasma, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Yes, you can get paid and possibly help sick people, but you should first consider the ethical concerns and the effort it takes to donate your blood plasma.

If you are looking for other ways to make more money, check out our other articles.

Guide To Donating Plasma For Money:

What Is Plasma?

Blood plasma is actually the part of the blood that’s a clear liquid. It’s made up of:

  • Water
  • Enzymes
  • Proteins
  • Antibodies

Donating blood plasma is not the same as donating blood to the Red Cross.

Are You Eligible To Donate Plasma?

You can donate plasma as long as you meet certain requirements.

The Basic Prerequisites to Donate Plasma:

  • Must be between 18-69 years old
  • Must weigh more than 110 pounds
  • Need to pass a basic physical and be absent of infectious diseases
  • Must have proper levels of hemoglobin, iron, and blood
  • Have a legal government ID or Social Security Card (to prove you’re a citizen)

These rules can change depending on the state you’re in, and local laws can even override the center requirements. For example, the age minimum is 19 in Nebraska.

Some states have rules that prohibit those with tattoos or piercings from donating and put a minimum on the number of donations you can make in a certain timeframe.

If you don’t qualify for plasma donation, the center may give you one of two types of deferrals: temporary or permanent.

Temporary deferrals can happen if you’re sick, recovering from a recent procedure, or if your hemoglobin, iron, or blood levels are too low.

The center will advise you on what to do next and when you can come back to donate.

If they give you a permanent deferral, it can be because of your age, weight, or if you have certain medical conditions that can negatively affect you or anyone who would receive your blood plasma.

However, you can try to overturn a center’s permanent deferral if you think it was given to you in error. To overturn it, you’d need to get a second medical opinion

How To Donate Plasma

  • Prepare Needed Paperwork
  • Hydrate
  • Eat Healthily
  • Avoid Caffeinated Drinks and Alcohol

First, you’ll need to prepare to visit a donation center (we’ll talk about how to find a center in a bit).

The most important thing is to drink a lot of fluids and eat healthily and regularly.

This should include heart-healthy meals, like fruits, vegetables, and fish. But you also want to avoid super fatty foods that are high in cholesterol.

And because it’s important to stay hydrated, you should drink lots of water the day before and the day of your donation.

Also, alcohol and caffeinated drinks are diuretics (meaning they dehydrate you), so it’s best to avoid those as well.

As far as documentation, you’ll need your Social Security card (or proof of it), proof of address, a photo ID — your name and address must match on all the documents.

And what’s nice is that some centers don’t require you to schedule an appointment, but you’ll want to check with your local center before you leave the house.

How Long Does It Take To Donate Plasma?

If it’s your first time donating, plan for this shindig to take an hour an a half to two hours.

After you get to the plasma center, you will need to complete a health history on one of their computers and go through a very basic physical.

This basic checkup can include a urine test, a heart check, and testing of your reflexes. Just a heads-up, they will prick your finger to test the hemoglobin, blood, and iron levels.

Once they’re ready for you to start donating, you’ll sit in a semi-reclined chair and they’ll get started.

It may look similar to donating blood, but because it’s more involved than donating blood, the actual donating part of the process can take up to an hour.

Plasma Process

The way they get just the blood plasma (the clear liquid part of your blood) is by first drawing your blood.

Then they separate the plasma (using something called a plasmapheresis machine) from the blood and return the blood to your body.

If you choose to donate plasma again, the process won’t take nearly as long.

Future donations should take only about an hour, mainly because you still have to complete a medical questionnaire to make sure nothing has changed.

How Often Can You Donate Plasma?

Something you should know if you plan to donate regularly is that there are limits to the number of times you can donate.

The general rule is no more than twice a week with the donations happening at least 24 to 48 hours apart.

This gives your body time to replace the lost plasma (drinking lots of water helps this process).

Does It Hurt To Donate Plasma?

This is a common concern. But when it comes to the discomfort involved with donating plasma, just think of it like donating blood. It’s no more and no less painful than that.

On top of pricking your finger, they will use a needle and IV to draw your blood and return the plasma-less blood to your body.

When they return the blood, it’s mixed with saline, which can tend to be very cold and cause some discomfort. So you may want to bring a blanket or jacket.

Obviously, if you feel enough discomfort during the donation process that it’s concerning, tell one of the phlebotomists right away.

Benefits of Donating Plasma

On top of getting paid (which we’ll talk about below), there are other benefits to donating plasma. Here are just a few:

Pros

  • Your plasma can help save lives
  • You may not need to schedule an appointment
  • Donating on a regular basis can encourage you to eat healthier and stay more hydrated

Ethical Concerns With Donating Plasma

So where does your blood plasma go? Who gets it and what is it used for?

Typically, your plasma goes to companies who create products that can help people who have blood clotting disorders or other blood diseases.

So you can be a part of saving lives, or at least helping people live better lives.

Cons

  • But are you told the name of the business who’s receiving your plasma? Not necessarily.
  • Will they tell you what product they’ll be making with your plasma? Nope.
  • Will companies be making a profit off of your blood plasma? Most definitely.

Are you okay with these realities? Many people are, and that’s totally fine.

And because you’re donating your plasma to businesses that will be flipping it for a profit, it’s only right that you get paid for your time and energy.

How Much Do You Get Paid To Donate Plasma?

How much money you can make donating plasma depends on a number of things:

  • How often you donate
  • The quantity of plasma donated
  • How much you weigh
  • The donation center you choose

If it’s your first time donating, you’ll typically make more.

But generally, you can expect to get between $20-50 per donation, with your first donation paying more because the process takes longer.

And yes, you can get paid more if you weigh more because the FDA requires you give a certain amount of plasma that corresponds with your weight.

The ranges are split up as such:

  • 110-149 pounds
  • 150-174 pounds
  • 175-400 pounds

Also, if you have a type of protein in your plasma that’s high demand, they may offer to pay you more money. And some centers will pay you more per donation if you’re a “frequent flyer” at their establishment.

Typically, donation centers pay you in the form of prepaid debit cards, but they may also give you rewards points that you can redeem for cash or certain merchandise.

So if the first donation takes about two hours and you get paid $50, that’s $25 per hour.

And with subsequent visits, that’s about how much you’ll make for about an hour of your time.

Not bad, right?

Where To Donate Plasma

Fortunately, the FDA inspects and regulates plasma donation centers for legal compliance.

However, they do not directly manage them. So it’s important to make sure your local donation center is FDA-approved.

Here are some of the donation centers you can trust along with the states where they’re located and how much you can expect to get paid.

B Positive

  • Locations: Maryland and New Jersey
  • Payment method: Visa prepaid debit card
  • Payment amount: $50 for your first five donations within the first 30 days (payment for regular donations can progressively increase between $15-45 each)

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
  • Payment method: Biolife prepaid debit card
  • Payment amount: up to $50 for each donation (bonus for second weekly test).

Biotest Plasma Center

  • Locations: AR, FL, GA, IA, NC, NE, NM, OH, PA, SC, SD, TX
  • Payment method: Mastercard prepaid debit card
  • Payment amount: up to $50 for your first five donations, $35-45 for subsequent donations (offer refer-a-friend program and sweepstakes to earn more money)

BPL Plasma

  • Locations: AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, NC, NM, OH, OK, TX
  • Payment method: contact your local center
  • Payment amount: up to $50 for your first five donations (offer seasonal promotions)
  • Notes: must be between 18-65 years old (not 69) and have not gotten piercings or tattoos within the past 12 months.

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
  • Payment method: iGive points that you can redeem for cash on a prepaid debit card or merchandise
  • Payment amount: up to $50 per donation (offer monthly promotions)

GCAM Plasma

  • Locations: CA, ID, TX, WA
  • Payment method: contact your local center
  • Payment amount: up to $30 per donation

Grifols (owns Biomat USA, Plasmacare, Inc., Talecris)

  • Locations: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI
  • Payment method: prepaid debit card
  • Payment amount: up to $25 per donation (offer refer-a-friend program)

Interstate Companies

  • Locations: FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, MS, PA, TN, TX, WI
  • Payment method: contact your local center
  • Payment amount: up to $50 for your first five donations

KEDPlasma

  • Locations: AL, FL, GA, LA, NC, NY, SC
  • Payment method: contact your local center
  • Payment amount: up to $50 for your first five donations

Octapharm

  • Locations: AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NV, OH, OK, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI
  • Payment method: rewards points that you can redeem for a Mastercard prepaid debit card, gift cards, sweepstakes, and other discounts
  • Payment amount: up to $50 for your first five donations (offers refer-a-friend program)

You Can Donate Plasma For Free If You’d Prefer

If this whole idea of donating plasma feels icky to you, you can donate it for free.

If you’re comfortable with not knowing which company will be using your plasma or what exactly they’ll be using it for, you can go to your local Red Cross center and donate (actually donate) blood plasma.

Red Cross will let you donate once every 28 days — your reward is knowing you’re helping people and potentially saving lives. And maybe that’s worth more than any prepaid debit card a plasma center would give you.

See Also:

Grant Sabatier

Creator of Millennial Money and Author of Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House). Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, Money Magazine and many others. He uses Personal Capital to manage his money in 10 minutes a month.

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